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Tenant evicted after drugs raid and arson attack

Skelmersdale man Adam Orr has been evicted by West Lancashire Borough Council after cannabis was found at his home and a severe arson attack led staff to believe his presence could be a danger to other tenants.

Wigan County Court heard that a quantity of the Class B drug consistent with amounts kept for personal use was found in Mr Orr’s flat on Elmstead, Tanhouse, after police searched the property under a warrant.

Mr Orr, aged 23, told the court he didn’t know who the drugs belonged to. But the judge was told the drugs simply being in the property was a breach of Mr Orr’s tenancy agreement.

A Council officer told the Court that looking at Mr Orr’s history as a tenant there had been a serious arson attack on his home which had caused £10,000 of damage. Mr Orr had told police he had no idea who could have started the fire. However when the Council offered to rehouse him to another area whilst his flat was repaired, he told staff he couldn’t go there as he believed the people who had committed the arson lived there.

During summing up of the case in court, the judge accepted the evidence given by the Council that Mr Orr had not told police the truth about whether or not he knew who the arsonists were and had not assisted the police in finding the offenders. Therefore he was putting other tenants in the block at risk.

She could not see Mr Orr deciding to co-operate with the police over the fire and as such, with the drugs also being found at the property, she granted outright possession to the Council.

Orr’s barrister immediately applied to Appeal the judgement.  The evidence was heard but the judge rejected the appeal and the original decision was upheld.

Mr Orr was formally evicted on Wednesday 23 May 2017. He was not present when the Council re-possessed the property.

Jacqui Sinnott-Lacey, West Lancashire Borough Council’s Director of Housing and Inclusion, said: “The Council has a zero tolerance policy towards drugs being kept in its homes and this case is a warning to our tenants that if they have drugs in their council homes they are likely to face strong legal action.”

Dave Tilleray, chairman of West Lancashire Community Safety Partnership, said: “This case shows how the Council works closely with Lancashire Police on drugs related issues.”

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