Families on a Rodbourne estate were afraid of venturing outdoors for fear of coming face-to-face with “blatant” drug dealing, a court heard.

Swindon Magistrates’ Court was told Nicholas Davis, 50, had been moved into a one bedroom house in Barnum Court in June by the borough council.

He had been sleeping rough but was found accommodation during the pandemic. The house was opposite a children’s play area.

Within a few weeks police had received reports of drug dealing from the property – including runners leaving on electric scooters. On July 7, police visiting the house found an electric scooter, which Davis said belonged to a friend. Five days later they discovered pricey Louis Vuitton trainers and a crack pipe.

In a witness statement, PC Abigail Gosling said no one had been prepared to provide a statement in support of the application as they feared potential repercussions.

“They stated that there had been recent activity from the address at all times of day and night, creating unwanted disturbance and concern for them, making them feel intimidated and upset by threatening and unwanted behaviour and activity on those attending the locality,” she wrote.

“Davis has allowed or been forced into allowing dangerous people to temporarily reside at the house and use the house as a base for dealing drugs to the local community.

“People feel frightened to venture outside of their homes within this area through fear of seeing or being indirectly exposed to drug-related activity.

“This type of criminality and blatant drug use/dealing cannot be allowed to continue.”

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Nicholas Davis outside the court Picture: ADVER

Presenting the evidence to magistrates on Tuesday morning, PC Mike Diffin said the drug dealing from Davis address was linked to a number of local gangs. “We don’t believe Mr Davis controls the address.”

Police raided the house on Friday and allegedly found class A and B drugs after reports of dealing in the area.

The application was for a partial closure order, allowing Davis to remain in the house but making it a crime for anyone else to enter unless they were named on the order.

Magistrates asked if it should be a full closure order. Mr Diffin said: “If you deem the nuisance to neighbours sufficient.” Davis had been warned in no uncertain terms that if he did not comply with the order police could return to court and ask to seal up the house, he added.

Chairman of the bench Jonathan Furlonger signed the three month partial closure order.

Davis was not represented at the hearing, although magistrates were told he had turned up at court but appeared to be drunk.

Mr Diffin said more than 60 closure orders had been obtained in the last 18 months.

Outside the court, Davis denied involvement in the drugs trade saying he had sorted his life out, no longer used drugs and was “too old for that game”.

Asked about comments suggesting neighbours were scared of those coming to the house, he told the Adver: “Why are they scared? There are kids playing in the park right outside mine. If they were that scared they wouldn’t leave their kids out there playing in that park.”