A NIGHTMARE neighbour has been banned from going within 100 metres of her former home after an emergency injunction was granted.

For more than a year Basildon Council has been battling to evict Sara Penlington from her flat in Clay Hill Road.

But the process was put in jeopardy after a judge delayed a crucial court hearing last week.

Miss Penlington was temporarily banned from the flat in August, after allegations of drug dealing and wild parties.

Basildon Council’s six-month closure order expired on Friday, so it was feared Penlington could have walked back into the property without a permanent measure in place.

The order banning anyone from entering the flat was granted by Basildon Magistrates’ Court while the council’s legal team prepared an eviction case – which was due to be heard at Southend County Court last Wednesday.

But the judge delayed the hearing until August at the last minute, with no reason being given to furious housing bosses.

Phil Turner, deputy leader and councillor responsible for housing, said: “I went ballistic. If we hadn’t challenged this, she would be living there now and I couldn’t let that happen.

“When the council is doing so much to try and improve residents’ way of life, individuals like Miss Penlington bring nothing but misery to neighbourhoods and blight communities.

“Such individuals will receive absolutely no sympathy from us.

“However, some law courts take a more lenient view and we have to continually fight an uphill battle legally with such cases to win back our residents’ rights to enjoy quality of life.”

The emergency High Court injunction, which was granted on Friday, only lasts until Friday, March 7, but the council says it will to apply for extensions until the August hearing.

Mr Turner added: “This is a good day for Miss Penlington’s neighbours and for the community in Clay Hill Road who have had to endure so much.

“We’ve had positive feedback from residents since Miss Penlington was made to leave and I am delighted they will remain in peace.

“We have said we are getting tough on anti-social behaviour and this demonstrates it.”