Neighbour from hell: Council tenant faces eviction after 850 complaints made against her
A woman with more than 800 complaints against her from long-suffering neighbours is today facing eviction from her Norwich flat.
People living near to Marlena Marke claim they have spent years putting up with regular drug use, shouting and fighting at her property on Pelham Road.
But an end to the long-running saga could now be in sight after Norwich City Council was granted a possession order to evict her.
Norwich County Court heard on Wednesday how there had been 850 complaints made against Marke relating to various forms of anti-social behaviour.
District Judge Helen Gilbertson said it was clear the council had done all it could to try and help her turn her situation around.
She said: “This has been going on for a number of years and they [the council] have done everything they can to support this tenancy.
“It is clear from the most recent statement that neighbours really are at breaking point.”
The court heard how noise complaints related to barking dogs and arguments.
But neighbours had also reported issues with rotting food, drug paraphernalia and broken furniture around her property.
Judge Gilbertson said residents had even resorted to taking sleeping pills to get rest at night.
Marke was said to have moved into her first floor flat in 2004.
Speaking after the case, people living nearby claimed the problems started soon after.
One woman, who did not wish to be named, said: “Five out of seven days are a living hell here, especially when you are not someone who partakes in drugs or drink.
“There is so much drug taking and then there is the arguing at all hours of the night.
“I’ve even had cat mess put through my door.”
A 79-year-old woman, who lives nearby, believed several needles she found in her garden were linked to the property.
She said: “You hear them arguing, you hear the windows breaking and doors getting kicked in.
“They used to sit in the window shooting up [heroin].”
A 34-year-old man, who also lives near to the flat and did not want to be named, said: “It is hell living round here.
“I have to take sleeping pills to get to sleep at night.”
Judge Gilbertson said when engineers visited Marke’s property to replace a radiator they found drug use taking place.
The city council thanked residents for their patience while it investigated the case.
A spokesman said: “Cases like these involve a huge amount of work to gather suitable evidence for court, all of which takes time.
“As well as building our legal case, the judge acknowledged that we had also fulfilled our duty as a landlord to try to help this tenant turn things around.
“We would like to thank residents for their patience while they have been living with this difficult situation.”
The court heard how the case was last listed in November 2018, but was adjourned to allow Marke to file a defence, which she did not do.
She did not attend the court, but attempts were made to contact her by this newspaper after the case.
Should Marke fail to give up her property within 28 days from the day of the order, the court will issue a bailiff warrant to be executed.
Marke will be able to make an application to the court to suspend the warrant at any point.