A mother and son have been ordered out of their home after their neighbours were subjected to three years of drug-taking, loud parties and street brawls.
Blackpool Magistrates heard that tenants Janette Dawson and Ryan Ball terrified residents from their address on Cambridge Road for two years with brawls, booming music and people taking drugs in the front garden and house.
Their landlords, brothers Edward and Simon Hackett, were branded ‘irresponsible and uncooperative’ by police at the hearing on Tuesday.
But despite putting the neighbourhood through more than two years of hell, Dawson, 53, claims she isn’t to blame and wants to stay in her terraced home, claiming she had struggled following the sudden death of her partner, Andrew Pearce, 49, in May from cirrhosis of the liver.
Dawson said: “He went to the hospital and they told him he was OK, then two months later he died of cirrhosis of the liver.
“It was an unexpected death and I still get upset when I talk about it.
“That’s why I don’t want to move out of that house. It was where we lived together.”
Dawson said her son, who is autistic, had been badly affected by her partner’s death, and had fallen in with a bad crowd who would come to the house to play loud music and smoke cannabis.
During this time, she said, she would often be away or spending time in her own rooms at the back of the house, which are separate from her son’s rooms.
“Ryan went into a state,” she said. “He started having a lot of kids around. He’s a follower. That’s what he’s like.
“I did call the police on him myself seven or eight times because I couldn’t handle it any more. I had to do it. I knew it was going to escalate if it wasn’t dealt with.
“Now I don’t know what to do.”
The court hearing had been requested by Blackpool Council following reports of anti-social and intimidating behaviour from Dawson and Ball at the Cambridge Road house.
Both the Hackett brothers and Ryan failed to attend the hearing, however, council prosecutor Nicola Morgan successfully applied for the hearing to go ahead in their absence.
She said the Hacketts, who co-own a portfolio of properties in Blackpool, were only interested in continuing to get housing benefit payments.
Police Constable John Holmes, community officer for the Brunswick area, told the court: “The Hacketts have been unco-operative with the authorities over the property
“They said they would evict those responsible for the bad behaviour but they didn’t do so.”
”The landlords own a lot of properties in the area and in my opinion they have been obstructive and irresponsible and they have refused to work with the police and council.”
Blackpool Council’s anti social behaviour officer John Yates said:”I firmly believe the landlords do not want to work with the council- one of them seems to prefer altercation.”
District Judge Jane Goodwin was told that Ryan Ball invited friends to the property, where his mother appeared to have an ‘open house’ policy. During their two-year stay, there had been violent incidents, including mass brawls, and neighbours had been intimidated.
Judge Goodwin granted a three-month closure on the house.
She said: ”Warnings were given but had no effect. I accept anti social behaviour went on.
“Neighbours lived in fear of reprisals and lived with their curtains closed.
“The behaviour has been a blight on Cambridge Road for two years. Residents are entitled to live their lives in peace and without fear.”
She added that there had been a distinct lack of communication between the landlords and the police and local authority over what had gone on.
But Dawson claimed she and her son were not to blame.
She said: “I accept that things went wrong, but I’m not a bad person.
“Maybe Ryan has caused a lot of problems. But myself I don’t get into trouble. I don’t have a criminal record. I’d rather give someone my last penny than hurt somebody.
“I have been on the streets before and I won’t turn somebody away if they need a place to stay. If a man comes to my house, he’s just lost his parents and he’s one of Ryan’s friends, what am I supposed to do?
“I like both Johns (PC John Holmes and John Yates) and I understand where they are coming from in a sense. I have got no grinds about them both. I understand they have got a job to do, but things have been presumed about me and the sort of person I am.”
Her neighbour Janice Ravenscroft, 54, who also lives on Cambridge Road, said: “I like Ryan, but he’s a follower. If you tell him to smash a window and you’ll be his best friend, he will do it.
He always has to have a friend. That’s not Janette’s fault.
“She was there for me when my mum passed. You could knock on her door day or night.
“There’s a few people on the road who go to Janette for advice or just a shoulder to cry on.
“She puts a brave face on but I see her sitting in her car crying her heart out. It’s a shame.”
Another neighbour, hotel receptionist Michael Graham, 50, said: “There used to be a lot of people out there drinking and smoking pot. There’s a lot of pot smokers around here.
“There could be a dozen or so.
“They have the music on really loud.
“I’ve been here about four years and it’s pretty much been the same every year in the summer.”
Dawson, a mum of six, said she hopes to appeal the decision to remove her from her house, and to find separate accommodation for her son.
She added that Ryan was currently on a waiting list for mental health services, and had been in contact with Horizon on Dickson Road about his cannabis use.
She said: “I’m quite worried about the future. This will stop me from getting a new house, although not one person was arrested for anything from my house.
“None of my children got into trouble with police except for Ryan. If he’s in a house of his own, I can go and visit him and care for him there.”
As a result of the court case, Janette and Ryan are now forbidden to enter their old house. Janette is currently living with one of her daughters at another property on the same street, while Ryan stays with friends.
A third tenant, Tony Pearce, who was not involved in any anti-social behaviour, was allowed to continue to live there.
Janette, Ryan and the Hackett brothers were each ordered to pay costs of £730.