Skelmersdale woman Samantha Brogan has been evicted from her West Lancashire Borough Council home after a quantity of the formerly "legal high" known as Spice was found on her property.
Spice, a synthetic version of cannabis, was added to the list of substances that are illegal to possess under the Misuse of Drugs Act in January 2017. This is the first time the Council has evicted a tenant after Spice was found in a tenants' property.
Wigan County Court heard that Police found a ball of cannabis in a tub in the back garden of Miss Brogan's home in Egerton, Tanhouse, when executing a warrant at the house.
A male visitor to the property admitted the cannabis belonged to him, and was issued with a penalty notice for disorder. The Council gave evidence to the court that Miss Brogan, aged 43, later claimed the drug was the formerly legal high called spice, but this made no difference to the case for evicting her as spice is now illegal.
Tenants are responsible for the conduct of visitors to their property, so even though the drugs didn't belong to Miss Brogan she was still in breach of her tenancy agreement. The Council began eviction proceedings against her, and as she was on one of the Council's introductory tenancies to demonstrate she could be a responsible tenant this made it easier for the Council to end her tenancy and take back the property.
The Court granted possession of the property back to the Council and Miss Brogan was also ordered to pay back £284.40 in rent arrears.
The Council pursues all available measures against tenants who breach the terms of their tenancy agreement and who are in arrears with their rent. Miss Brogan was evicted on 7 November.
Councillor Jenny Forshaw, portfolio holder for Housing and Landlord Services, said: "Council tenants are responsible for their behaviour and that of people who visit them. Tenancy agreements clearly state that drugs are not allowed on Council properties, and this case should serve as a clear warning that tenants found with drugs in their homes could face legal action.
“The Council tries to work with its tenants who find themselves in rent arrears. If there are any tenants who find themselves in this situation they should contact their housing officer immediately so the Council can help them. They may be able to make an agreement with us to pay off what they owe gradually."
Councillor Kevin Wright, portfolio holder for health and community safety, said: "Drugs are a menace to communities and this case Council takes its role in trying to ensure peace on our housing estates very seriously so that residents can quietly enjoy their homes."
Discover Drug & Alcohol Service offers a single point of contact telephone line (01772 366 120) where referrals for those wishing to receive help and support concerning their or someone else’s substance misuse can be made. Providing consent has been gained, such referrals can be made by individuals themselves, GPs, concerned others, and other relevant agencies. Based on appropriate referrals, individuals will then be offered a face-to-face appointment with the service in order to discuss a ‘needs led’ package of support. Their local base is 75-79 Westgate, Skelmersdale, Lancashire, WN8 8LP.