RESIDENTS are celebrating after a drug den used by addicts to deal and take heroin was shut down.

Families at Thistledown Court, Basildon, have endured 18 months of misery after the tenant of a flat was jailed and addicts and homeless people moved in.

Residents reported syringes and other drugs paraphernalia being dumped in communal areas, all night parties and people even shimmying up their drainpipe to get to the first floor flat.

Yesterday morning, officers smashed down the door to the flat and arrested a man on suspicion of drugs offences and a woman who was wanted on warrant.

The property, which is owned by housing association FamilyMosaic, was filthy, with graffiti-strewn walls.

On a side table in the living room there were a number of spoons used to “cook” heroin, along with syringes, needles and a shoelace which would be used asamakeshift tourniquet to help the user inject the drug.

In a child’s bedroom there were drugs needles on a single bed which had a Thomas The Tank Engine bedspread.

In the bedside table were more needles and papers.

Officers do not believe a child is living at the flat.

Police also discovered a small quantity of cannabis.

Neighbour Nicky Kelly, 21, lives above the flat with two small children.

She said the drugs den had been a “nightmare”.

She added: “The people living there were constantly smoking drugs and the fumes were coming up into my flat and making it smell.

“It was horrible, especially as I have two small children.

“There were syringes being dumped in the stairwell. A couple of weeks ago my daughter almost picked one up, which was very scary.

“There were people coming and going all night.

“I am relieved the police have shut the flat down.”

Yesterday afternoon the flat was boarded up to stop the gang getting back in.

It will remain boarded up until the tenant is released from prison – she was sentenced to 13 months in January.

Sergeant Paul Costin, who spearheaded the operation, said: “I’m delighted with the outcome of this operation.

“It is the result of concerns raised by the local community.

“We will always act on community intelligence and today’s operation sends out a strong message that we will work to disrupt criminal elements in Basildon and keep up the pressure on them.”