20 C
Harrow on the Hill
Saturday, June 22, 2024
HomeNewsFears shops in Brent neighbourhood are being used as 'bases for illegal...

Fears shops in Brent neighbourhood are being used as ‘bases for illegal activities’

Concerns have been raised that a number of businesses in a North London neighbourhood are actually being used ‘as bases for illegal activities’, according to a local councillor. Four shops in Harlesden have been forced to close by police already this year due to allegations of antisocial behaviour (ASB) and drug dealing.

The issue was highlighted by the representative for Harlesden and Kensal ward, Cllr Jumbo Chan, during a recent meeting of Brent Council (November 20). Locals fear the area has become a hot-bed for street drinking, intimidating behaviour and drugs.

Cllr Chan said: “We have received many complaints over a sustained period of time about a number of so-called shops on Park Parade being used as bases for illegal activities.”

Four commercial premises in the area were issued with closure orders last month (October) following raids carried out by the Metropolitan Police in August. The courts authorised the closures on the grounds of ‘nuisance and disorder’, leaving the businesses having to temporarily shut to customers.

Sefar Café and El Tacos on Park Parade were both forced to close for a total of six weeks after a court upheld police officers’ claims of issues regarding “ASB caused by drug dealing, consumption, and the peripheral crime associated with such.”

Full three-month closure orders were issued to Fortune Laundrette and Dry Cleaning, also on Park Parade, and Baraca Hands hair salon on High Street following raids.  Cllr Chan asked the council leadership for details of what the council is doing to support the local police, residents and businesses to make sure these “illegal shops are eradicated once and for all”.

Cllr Chan said: “We believe strongly that these so-called shops are a blight on the potential of what Park Parade and wider Harlesden could be and we strongly support the local police’s use of closure orders.”

Cabinet Member for Safer Communities and Public Protection, Cllr Harbi Farah, said he visited Park Parade a couple of weeks ago, alongside the council leader, Cllr Muhammed Butt, and residents. He acknowledged that they also heard the same complaints from residents.

He added: “The thing we can not do is close a legitimate business…but I can assure you [about] what we have done with the police. We have successfully managed to [issue] three-month closure orders to four properties in the area […] and we are working closely with our partners to monitor the area.”

Earlier this month, Harlesden Police revealed that they successfully extended the closure orders on all four premises following a hearing at Willesden Magistrates Court on November 15. The force said this is “essential in preventing ASB and criminality in Harlesden”. Cllr Farah said there remains “on-going operations” in the area and he will continue to update the council on their progress.

Never miss another news story, subscribe to Harrow Online for FREE!