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Anti-social behaviour at top of Upper Street causing 'years of suffering' for fed-up neighbours

PUBLISHED: 09:12 14 November 2019 | UPDATED: 09:25 14 November 2019

The steps behind The White Swan pub.

The steps behind The White Swan pub.

Archant

Neighbours say they are fed up after enduring "years of suffering" thanks to constant anti-social behaviour at the top of Upper Street.

People allgedly taking drugs on the steps of The White Swan pub.People allgedly taking drugs on the steps of The White Swan pub.

People living in Hampton Court and Swan Yard, off the retail street, hoped their lives would improve when the council banned moped delivery drivers from loitering outside their homes while waiting to collect deliveries.

But since that happened 18 months ago the back steps of the Wetherspoons pub The White Swan have become a "haven for daylight crack dealing and drug taking", while people are often seen sleeping rough there too.

Islington Council, police and Wetherspoons are all acting on the problem, with the pub chain agreeing to now inspect the back steps every hour.

One person neighbour told the Gazette the "constant stream of problems" goes back to 2016 and is linked to the Highbury Corner and station refurbishment and the bike racks being moved to Highbury Station Road.

They added: "If it was just one problem, we would be patient and understand that things take time but it's not - we've endured years and years of suffering."

The litany of problems include McDonald's dumping rubbish leading to an infestation of rats displaced by the building work, and students and pubgoers taking drugs and defecating on their doorsteps.

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"The smoke of marijuana permeates your flat or they do lines of coke on your bedroom window sill," the neighbour said, before listing: "In the summer months people using Swan Yard to have sex, the appropriation of Hampton Court as an extension of McDonald's.

"They've now changed the internal workings of their building so Hampton Court has been turned into storage area for rubbish, food, and deliveries.

"The sound of massive metal cages going over our cobbled streets can be deafening."

There was a police "day of action" around the station two weeks ago, which led to 11 drug seizures from stop and searches, and five arrests for possession of class B drugs, fraud and possession of an offensive weapon.

A council spokesperson said: "The council is aware that the area around Highbury Corner is a particular hotspot for certain types of anti-social behaviour.

"We've been working closely with the Metropolitan Police and the British Transport Police to tackle this, including a recent police day of action which resulted in eleven drug seizures and five arrests.

"We have also been working with local businesses to ensure that more is done to manage these spaces better.

"We take these matters seriously, and where businesses have failed to take appropriate action the council will use its enforcement powers to ensure better management of the space."

A Wetherspoon spokesperson said: " We will work with the council and the police in any way possible to stop anti-social behaviour in the area."

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