THREE addresses in Hayes that were the site of persistent anti-social behaviour and disorder have been ordered to shut up shop following numerous complaints from residents.

The three closed properties are linked with the use of khat, a herbal drug that is chewed and has similar stimulant effects to amphetamines.

Although legal, and with a long tradition of use in some parts of the Somali community, it is considered by many to be as destructive as many banned drugs and there have been calls to reclassify it to reflect the personal and social effects of its use.

The addresses, in East Avenue, were served closure notices in a joint operation by the police and Hillingdon Council last week.

The orders forbid entry to the premises for three months. A breach will result in a fine of up to £5,000, jail, or both.

Residents had complained of a constant flow of people visiting the premises, problems with violence in the street, and visitors to the premises who park across neighbours' driveways.

News of the closures has been met with approval by neighbours and community figures alike.

One resident, who lives across the road but asked not to be named, said: "It's been horrible. The noise and commotion at all hours has kept us up for nights on end.

"I'm glad something has finally been done about it and the situation has improved, but it is still a problem."

Ed Shaylor, head of community safety at the council, said: "Our actions send out a strong message that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated and the robust stance that the police and Hillingdon Council are prepared take against it."