A SOUTHBOURNE flat has been shut by the courts after magistrates heard claims of drug dealing, domestic violence and knife crime.

Steven Church and Kathleen Cash have been ordered not to return to a property in Belle Vue Road for three months after the hearing at Poole Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.

It was alleged during the short hearing that a 98-year-old man had been "targeted" and "large sums of money" taken from him. There were also claims the property has been connected to "muggings".

Mary Almeida, prosecuting for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council, alleged 'knives' had been found during searches of the address.

"One resident targeted a very vulnerable gentleman of 98 and took large sums of money," she said.

"There was a lot of daily noise, including shouting and screaming, and reports of domestic violence.

"People were coming and going at all hours as a result of drug dealing at the address.

"I ask for the order to be made for three months."

Under the order, no one can go into the address for the duration except the landlady and contractors employed by her to repair damage.

"The property has been trashed by the current occupants," Ms Almeida said.

The orders, which are made as a last resort when other options fail, close a property for a minimum period of three months.

Sergeant Ashley White, of the Bournemouth East Neighbourhood Policing Team, said officers worked with officials from Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council to secure the application.

"We appreciate the significant impact this activity has had on neighbouring residents and have worked hard to compile evidence to put before the court," she said.

“I hope this order shows we will act on issues raised by residents and take all action available to us to reduce anti-social behaviour in our communities.”

Over the course of 2018, more than seven properties in Bournemouth were subjected to closure orders, with a total closure time of more than a year.

Most of the properties closed are council-owned, meaning they are taken out of circulation for the duration of the order.

Matthew King, the council's community enforcement and anti-social behaviour manager, said the behaviour of Church and King led to 'significant alarm' for neighbours.

"Those responsible refused to engage or improve their behaviour and officers from the anti-social behaviour team and the police were left with no choice but to seek a closure on the property,2 he said.

"We are pleased that the court supported this decision after reviewing the extensive evidence from the case, tirelessly compiled by officers, and we hope this illustrates that anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated.’’

Anyone who has concerns about anti-social behaviour should contact Dorset Police via dorset.police.uk or by calling 101.