READER REPORT:

Drug use forced us to move

DIANE BLAND
Last updated 05:00 23/11/2013
stoned, drug user, addict
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NEIGHBOURS FROM HELL: Diane Bland sold her house after renters next door made life unbearable.

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Illegal drug use has impacted our lives in a way I wouldn't have thought possible a few years ago.

It began when a house beside us became a rental property.

At first the two couples were very quiet and kept to themselves, but over a period of months we noted a build up in visitor traffic at strange times day and night, with no-one ever staying more than a few minutes.

As our houses were very close and we shared a driveway, the continual vehicle noise and inconsiderate behaviour during the night was impacting on our lifestyle.

With an ill husband and us both sleep-deprived, we tried to talk to the landlord but he was as good as useless, saying they paid the rent on time so there was no problem.

After discussing with other neighbours we concluded they were dealing, so the police were approached. They asked us to keep records of vehicles and registration numbers.

When the neighbours realised they were being watched, their behaviour became aggressive and the landlord supported them by erecting an ugly high fence so the property wasn't easily visible.

Chemicals they were unloading from a vehicle leaked into our garden, causing damage and a horrific smell outside for weeks.

After a neighbourhood meeting to discuss the problems, the landlord was approached but his response was to have his lawyer send us all letters telling us to back off.

He seemed to be in cohorts with the dealers and things became openly nasty with visitors throwing rubbish into our property, yelling abuse and turning up stereos when they saw us coming.

The police were useless to put it plainly. They said there was no proof (despite witnesses seeing money changing hands) and basically left us to it.

Neighbours and friends of many years fell out, because we felt we had no support from anyone.

If they really were dealing, the police would sort it out right? Yeah right!

After a doctor's visit where my husband's blood pressure was so elevated from the stress he was told he was in danger of having a stroke, we were offered a rental to give us some respite.

But I'd had enough.

Twenty years we lived in that house and we knew that the good times were in the past so we made the decision to sell up.

It took us a lot of work to prepare but six months later we were gone.

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It didn't help in the slightest to hear from friends in the area that the trouble continued for some time afterwards.

The police did have an unrelated reason to visit the house, but said there was no evidence of drugs.

Time has moved on and we're happy where we are but I still feel let down by the lack of support from many parties, particularly when we're told drugs are a crime and to let the police know if you have suspicions.

Seven years later the house has coincidentally been sold to someone in our extended family. Guess what they found in the attic? All the drug paraphernalia, where it had been abandoned when the renters left. And were the police interested? Hell no.

Decriminalisation is not the answer. Enforce the laws there are and give police the powers to do their job.


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