A SOUTHAMPTON home, turned into a hive of criminal activity by a suspected county lines drug gang, has been shut down.

Police say the home has become a hub of “anti-social behaviour” and a “serious nuisance” to neighbouring residents .

In one incident, a man was even seen carrying a machete outside the home, in Vanguard Road, Midanbury.

Police say trouble started when an out-of-town gang, believed to be involved in drug dealing, forcibly moved in at the expense of the vulnerable occupant – an action known as “cuckooing”.

Now city magistrates have granted an order banning people from the property.

It comes after police arrested 48 people as part of a week-long crackdown on county lines gangs in Hampshire.

Daily Echo: Two people were arrested following the latest drugs bust in AlloaTwo people were arrested following the latest drugs bust in Alloa

Police hope the ban, known as a stopping-up order, will disrupt criminal activity in the area.

The order was granted following an application from Hampshire Constabulary at Southampton Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

Specialist anti-social behaviour officer PC Dan McGarrigley told the court how the property was owned by Southampton City Council and had been occupied by a vulnerable drug-user.

But earlier this year the owner had been targeted by two men believed to have links to the illegal drugs trade, PC McGarrigley told the court.

He said the group were likely linked to the county-lines drug system, which involves criminals from cities such as London infiltrating smaller and more rural areas.

PC McGarrigley said police attempted to reach out to occupier after he was assaulted and taken to hospital with facial injuries.

But the man refused to co-operate, due to fear of reprisal from the gang.

Police later visited the property and found two men inside, who claimed they were friends of the occupier and had permission to stay.

PC McGarrigley said both men were known to the police.

He added that neighbours had complained of criminal activity, anti-social behaviour, and banging noises coming from the property at “all times of the day and night”.

Daily Echo:

PC McGarrigley said: “There was once incident reported to the police were a person had machete outside the front of the property.

He added: “If the order is not granted there is concern the property will be used for criminal purposes and will create nuisance for the community.”

Magistrates agreed and passed to the order.

PC McGarrigle said: “I hope this closure reassures the local community that we will not tolerate anti-social behaviour and drug-related activity in our communities and we will do everything within our power to stop it.

The news comes less than a month after a suspected drug den was shut down by police in Kent Street, Northam.

Officers suspected the home was being used by county lines drug dealers and was regularly left insecure for people to come and go.