EVIDENCE of drugs, broken floor boards and a smashed window met police and council officers as they raided an empty guest house being used by squatters.
Complaints from neighbours about the squatters had led police to raid the Malbery Hotel, on Tyldesley Road in South Shore, with council officers, who were ready to use their powers to evict them under new squatting laws.
Although there was no-one inside the house, there was evidence at least four rooms of the four-floor hotel were being used to sleep in illegally.
Police and housing officers were called to the property by neighbour Robert Taylor, who said people had been coming and going for the three nights, after the front window of the basement room was smashed.
Mr Taylor, 70, said: “We’ve seen people going in and out of the basement, we can hear them talking and we can hear them going up and down the stairs.
“Five years ago that place became empty, and we’ve had nothing but trouble off it.
“You should feel safe in your own home.”
Alex Bracken, housing enforcement manager for Blackpool Council, yesterday led police officers, environmental protection officers and Coun Gillian Campbell into the former hotel.
She said: “This is a problematic empty property and we are trying to engage with the owners to get the property either back into use or look at selling it. Empty properties are a blot on the community. They attract vandalism and increase levels of anti-social behaviour.”
Coun Campbell, cabinet member for housing and public protection, said the property had been boarded up.
She added: “If squatters are making the lives of local residents a misery it is very important that we take action.
“The property was a major hazard and was causing major issues for businesses.
“Progress is coming to this particular area of South Shore in the form of the forthcoming housing development in and around Rigby Road and, in the meantime, we will continue to monitor the situation.”