The owner of a “death trap” derelict pub could be forced to sell it to South Tyneside Council.
Neighbours have demanded the Pickwick Arms, in Dickens Avenue, Biddick Hall, South Shields, be torn down following concerns it has become a magnet for magnet for “feral” youngsters.
But councillors have now raised the prospect of the local authority taking over the building, which has lain empty for almost a decade.
Speaking at Thursday’s West Shields, Cleadon and East Boldon Community Area Forum (CAF), Coun Anne Walsh said: “It’s all been well documented about the Pickwick, but unfortunately it’s not council owned.
“The council has been trying actively to buy the premises and they’re now looking at a compulsory purchase order (CPO).”
Councils, government departments and utility companies can use CPOs to force the sale of land, provided it can be proved the sale would be in the public interest.
Last week, barriers to prevent trespassing were ripped from the Pickwick Arms’ doors and windows by youngsters who had gathered at the building.
This view was echoed by police, who said they would be contacting the families of 20 suspects.
The pub issue was raised at the CAF meeting due to continuing anti-social behaviour in the area, especially incidents involving motorbikes.
Police are so keen to get to grips with the issue, they are even considering buying a drone to make tracking reckless riders easier.
Acting Sergeant Wayne Wright said: “We need to find where the bikes are located, we need to try and get them before it all starts.”
He added: “We’ve got the powers to deal with them, but we’ve got the powers to deal with them when they’re stationary and there’s less risk involved.”
James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service