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Dundee drug abuse: ‘If the V&A is a living room, then this place is a toilet’

Authorities are being urged to step in as addicts take over a Dundee close leaving residents living among bloody tissues and used needles.

Conditions in the tenement building on Lochee High Street are so bad residents say they are scared to leave their homes.

Left, the tenement entrance on Lochee High Street, and right, some of the items on the stairwell

Lochee councillor Charlie Malone says it is one of the worst situations he has seen in the city.

“The conditions are just absolutely appalling,” he said.

“If the V&A is a living room for the city, then this place is a toilet.”

A drug container

One woman moved into the block from Cambridge with her partner in May.

The 24-year-old digital marketing specialist said she broke down in tears when she realised the problems.

“We feel really unsafe living here,” she said.

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“We have to step over them when we come and go while they are using needles and cooking drugs with spoons and bottle caps.”

She says letting agent Pavillion Properties have refused to look into the matter and neither it, nor the other landlord have agreed to install a lock on the close main entrance.

It means substance abusers can come in as they please and occupy the stairwell or sleep at the rear of the building.

The close stairwell is littered with items used by addicts

Who is responsible?

Pavillion Properties manage three of the six flats in the block.

A spokesperson says the company has been trying to get the common areas “up to a good standard” for years.

But he stressed Pavillion does not have authority to act without the agreement of a landlord who owns the others.

A Police Scotland spokesperson confirmed officers visited the close on October 27 after a complaint by a resident.

She said they found “no criminality” had occurred.

The Courier visited the property and found dozens of potentially dangerous and hazardous items used by addicts.

Spoons, bottle caps, pieces of rubber and empty pill packets, as well as methadone bottles, bloody tissues, hypodermic needles and used antiseptic wipes could be seen scattered throughout.

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Call for action

Mr Malone said: “It’s grim.

“I went up to have a look myself and I just wanted to swear. It’s absolutely disgusting and immoral.

“These landlords shouldn’t be taking rent from people living in these conditions.

“Multiple landlords own properties in the building and it feels like they are playing against each other. It’s just filthy. I came away feeling unclean.

A bottle cap commonly used to ‘cook’ heroin and a needle wrapper found at the back of the block

“I’ve just felt miserable since. I can’t help but feel for the people who live there.

“It seems like they’re at the stage where they are going to take matters in to their own hands.”

Mr Malone said he was seeking urgent action from the council to help residents.

He said: “I don’t think it would pass a health and safety examination.

“I will be writing to the council’s chair of licensing to call for an enquiry. I want to understand what powers we have in a situation like this.

“There’s dead cables hanging, drug paraphernalia everywhere, no glass in the windows and no lighting. I almost fell when walking down the stairs.

“I’m so frustrated.”

Bloody tissues left on the stairwell

How is the council helping?

Dundee City Council, which advises people to call a dedicated team if they find a needle, say the authority is willing to assist.

A spokesperson said: “Our Private Sector Services Unit provides advice, information and limited financial assistance to owners, landlords and private tenants to enable them to deal with a range of housing-related matters.

“There is limited Private Sector Housing Grant (PSHG) funding available to assist home owners to repair and improve their homes.

“Officers have been in contact with the letting agent and landlords in the building to discuss the available options to them, including financial assistance towards the installation of a secure door entry.”

Lochee has been battling anti-social behaviour and high levels of drug addiction for years.

Dundee as whole meanwhile has one of the worst drug death rates in Europe per capita.

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