Public urged to help council keep trespassers out of Ely House, Wisbech, as closure order is agreed to by Cambridge magistrates

Changing face of Ely House, Wisbech, which (bottom row, centre) shows has also been subejct to fires

Changing face of Ely House, Wisbech, which (bottom row, centre) shows has also been subejct to fires. The house is now officially closed meaning anyone entering illegally can expect to be prosecuted, Picture; ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Step foot over the threshold of a house in Wisbech at anytime in the next three months and you can expect to be arrested.

That was the warning from Fenland District Council after they secured a closure order on the Grade II-listed Ely House on Thursday (August 1).

It followed an application to Cambridge Magistrates' Court under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

The historic house has blighted a community in Wisbech with persistent criminality and anti-social behaviour, said a council spokesman.

"The three month court order closes the property with immediate effect, providing respite to local residents and safeguarding the property from further deterioration," said the spokesman.

The order is supported by Cambridgeshire Police and makes it a criminal offence for any unauthorised persons to enter the address.

"Members of the local community are now being urged to help enforce the order by reporting anyone entering the property to the police," said the spokesman.

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Cllr Susan Wallwork, Fenland District Council's portfolio holder for communities, said: "Closing premises is not a decision taken lightly but shows we are prepared to take the firm action necessary to address the complaints we have received."

She said: "There has been a copious amount of work going on to address the complex issues on this privately owned site, involving council officers from community safety, housing, planning enforcement, conservation and environmental health.

"It has been a team effort to secure all the evidence needed to bring it to court and enable this safeguarding action to take place.

"Getting this property closed for three months will give residents the peace and quiet they deserve and enable us to implement a long term solution. Any persons entering the house during that period will also commit a criminal offence which will be robustly enforced."

Anyone who witnesses unauthorised persons entering the property, breaching the Closure Order, is urged to report it to police on 101 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Fire crews have been called to the property in recent month - one blaze ripped through the outbuildings in the back yard.

And inside Ely House there have been numerous reports of persistent vandalism.

No one is quite sure about ownership or the potential sale of the house although two years ago and open day was held to allow visitors to look round - and possibly make an offer to buy it.