City centre drug den sees police step up patrols

Drug paraphenalia and general mess left in the old Rose Lane car park toilet block in Norwich

Drug paraphenalia and general mess left in the old Rose Lane car park toilet block in Norwich - Credit: Contributed

Terrified families living a stone's throw from a city centre drug den have said they are too afraid to venture out at night. 

In St Johns Street, off Mountergate, empty booze cans litter overgrown grassy areas and a community garden near the old Rose Lane car park - and have done for years. 

Shocking footage obtained by the Evening News also shows evidence of drug taking in an abandoned toilet block in the same site. 

The community garden near St Johns Street, Norwich, and the old Rose Lane car park 

The community garden near St Johns Street, Norwich, and the old Rose Lane car park - Credit: Sophie Wyllie

The police has now promised to crack down on antisocial behaviour in the area following pleas from neighbours. 

Insp Dan Cocks, from Norfolk Police, said: “Officers from the safer neighbourhood team are aware of the issues, some of which were identified during a recent community walkabout.

"We will be increasing foot patrols in the area and working with the local community and council towards longer term solutions and increased reassurance to local residents.”

Drug paraphenalia in the old Rose Lane car park toilets in Norwich

Drug paraphenalia in the old Rose Lane car park toilets in Norwich - Credit: Contributed

A 27-year-old man, who has lived in Parmentergate Court opposite the den for six years and asked not to be named, said: "There have always been issues of drug taking in the garden and anti-social behaviour. There is always a lot of rowdy behaviour.

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"I wouldn't go down there are night and wouldn't want my partner doing that either.

"It is annoying for us because of all the shouting.

"The police do what they can but people just keep coming back."

Parmentagate Court on St Johns Street, Norwich, near the former Rose Lane car park

Parmentagate Court on St Johns Street, Norwich, near the former Rose Lane car park where residents claim drug taking has taken place - Credit: Sophie Wyllie

Another neighbour, 61, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "After 11pm I wouldn't even think about going out alone."

He added the long-term drug issue appears to have improved in the past month although he did still hear noise from people outside the block.

A 63-year-old man, who has lived in Parmentergate Court for 14 years, said: "The drugs problem is getting better."

He claimed that was partly after someone cut down some the bushes after the problem started to get "worrying".

The former Rose Lane toilet block where drug paraphenalia has previously been discovered

The former Rose Lane toilet block where drug paraphenalia has previously been discovered - Credit: Sophie Wyllie

A man, who did not wish to be named, working on a nearby site added that people regularly try to break into the private residents' car park for Bartholomew Court, opposite Parmentergate Court.  

Felix Fern, 33, who lives in Bartholomew Court, said: "I know there is drug taking around here but I have never witnessed it. I feel safe."

Transgender activist Felix Fern, 33, who lives in St Johns Street, Norwich

Transgender activist Felix Fern, 33, who lives in St Johns Street, Norwich - Credit: Sophie Wyllie

He added the main problem was noise from people from Riverside bars.

  • Council promises swift action on antisocial behaviour 

A Norwich City Council spokeswoman said: “We take antisocial behaviour and the incorrect disposal of sharps (needles and syringes) and other drug paraphernalia very seriously.

“Reports that come through to us are actioned quickly and we carry out regular sweeps of areas that are frequently targeted.

“If the public see any discarded sharps, we encourage them to call us or complete the online form on our website as soon as they are able, so we can arrange for the safe collection and disposal.

“Any incidents of drug use should be reported directly to the police.”

To report sharps and drug paraphernalia use a form on the council website www.norwich.gov.uk

Alternatively people can call 0344 980 3333 (9am to 4pm, Monday to Friday) or 01603 412180 (if after 4pm on Monday to Friday, over the weekend, on a bank holiday or public holiday).

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