A NIGHTMARE couple want to return to their Basildon home...but the council is determined to stop them.

Sara Penlington, 39, and Paul James, 36, were booted out of their flat in Clay Hill Road last summer after a court heard they held unruly parties.

The council gained a temporary order forcing the couple out. Neighbours were chuffed, but now they dread the possibility of the pair coming back. The council will go to court next month in a bid to repossess the property.

Neighbour and mum-of-four Anne Hudson, 35, said the neighbourhood was a different place since the couple were driven out. She said: “There have been no drunks or druggies hanging around. My children can walk about without me worrying about them.

Hopefully, someone better will move in who wants to look after the place.”

Another neighbour said: “Since they were kicked out, it has been lovely. It used to be hectic, there were so many cars pulling up it was like a corner shop.”

Southend Standard:

Paul James

Basildon Council hopes to get a repossession order from Southend County Court in February. Phil Turner, the council’s housing boss, said: “If we are successful, these premises will be back in the council’s hands and available for someone more deserving. We will continue to take action against those who fail to take appropriate steps to stop bad behaviour.

“I congratulate the council’s antisocial behaviour team for working so effectively, with the support of Essex Police, to take robust action against those involved.”

He added: “There was some manoeuvering with the people we were trying to get out. There were legal stand-offs and it was going right to the wire.”

Southend Standard:

The tenancy was in Penlington’s name. She has been staying with a relative. It is not clear where James has been staying since his release from jail for attacking police.