DRUG users have been evicted from a empty business in Basildon town centre after turning it into a bedsit.

Police were made aware of the business in East Walk being occupied by the group on Thursday, and quickly moved to evict them on Friday.

The Basildon community policing team worked alongside the business owner removed the drug users on Friday and secured the property.

It is unclear at this stage which empty business in East Walk had been targeted or how long drug users had been using it as a bedsit.

Photos of the bedsit posted by the community policing team on Facebook showed at least two mattresses inside, as well as drugs paraphernalia including needles.

Basildon’s Labour mayor, David Burton-Sampson, condemned the group for taking over an empty business but insisted these people should “not be demonised” and that more needs to be done in the way of offering support to struggling members of the community.

He said: “The thing is, with issues like this, we probably need to be looking at intervention to help and support these people and find the right way to get help and to get them into temporary accommodation and then you hope to find them permanent accommodation.

“They can’t choose to take over any empty shop purely because they want to, but we need to look at support, that is the key, what is being done for these people now?

“The start is not to demonise these individuals, they have needs that need to be addressed.

“There is the potential that they also have care needs as well aside from being potentially homeless, and we need to do more both at Basildon Council and Essex County Council level to help these people, provide them with the right support and get them on the right track in life again.”

It is not known what support was offered to the drug users in the bedsit, and if any temporary accommodation has been offered.

After the eviction, a spokesman for the community policing team said: “Police were made aware of an unoccupied business premises in Basildon town centre, which was being used by a number of drug users as a bedsit.

“The Basildon core CPT team attended on Friday in company with the owners and removed the occupants, securing the property and preventing any further impact on the local community.”