North Ormesby machete fight 'house of horrors' closed

Number 43 with the closure notice in the window Image copyright Middlesbrough Council
Image caption The property has been secured by Middlesbrough Council

A "house of horrors" whose occupants took part in street brawls with machetes and baseball bats has been shut down.

Weekend-long parties and suspected drug dealing saw 43 Thornton Street, North Ormesby, described by neighbours as being "like a crack den".

Middlesbrough Council secured a three-month closure order after taking the case to Teesside Magistrates' Court.

The property's occupant, Ben Sheppard, contested the matter.

Council prosecutor Andrew Perriman told the court complaints included fighting, some of which involved the use of machetes and baseball bats, and shouting and swearing in the street.

The property's front window was smashed three times, while callers would knock at all hours of the day and night, and off-road motor bikes and quad bikes were often kept there, magistrates heard.

A stun gun was found during a police search in June.

The council described it as a "house of horrors" and Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said the closure notice was a "small but significant victory for the good people of North Ormesby".

Following the ruling, it is a criminal offence for anyone to enter the property for three months.

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