Order to protect exploited resident
Visitors have been banned from a Wigan flat to protect an elderly and vulnerable man who was being 'financially abused'.
Wigan And Leigh Magistrates’ Court heard the 74-year-old was “intimidated” into letting people into his home at Crompton House in Scholes.
He had handed over large sums of money which was never repaid, including more than Â£1,000 to one woman.
The court was told his neighbours had heard people demanding cash and they were worried he did not have enough money to feed himself.
The Wigan Post has decided not to identify the victim for his own protection.
But three of the people alleged to have been involved in his exploitation were named in court as James “Jimmy” Carr, Karen O’Malley and Sherraline Metcalfe.
Susan Fulford, who appeared on behalf of Wigan Council, said: “These visitors to the address are unwanted by the tenant but he feels powerless to refuse them entry or to make them leave.”
The council applied for a closure order for the flat in a bid to stop the “serious criminal behaviour emanating from the property”.
Kelly Gerrard, a key worker from the local authority’s multi-agency safeguarding hub, told the hearing that the issue first came to light in August last year, but the man did not want to do anything about it.
But the man, who is a council tenant considered to be vulnerable, has since contacted the police after the trouble continued.
Ms Gerrard said: “He’s felt like he’s had to let these people stay on the basis the money will be given back. But it’s never been given back to him.”
Katie Simkin, tenancy enforcement officer for the council, said neighbours had heard “lots of shouting, swearing and people demanding money”.
Chairman of the bench Graham Snape approved the application for a closure order. It means only the tenant, his son and support workers are allowed to visit the flat until Thursday October 25.
Anyone else who goes to the home in the next three months could face a fine or even imprisonment.
Closure orders are being increasingly used by the authorities locally as a means of stifling anti-social behaviour hotspots.
In only the last three months, justices have imposed them several times in Wigan, Scholes, Leigh, Worsley Mesnes and Marsh Green. Complaints that prompted bans have included late night noise, foul language, vehicles congregating dangerously and drug-dealing.