A CONTROVERSIAL rehab centre has been shut down after about two dozen police swooped on the facility at Woodlands Drive, Thornlands.
A 48-year-old woman was arrested for fraud after police searched the office of Breaking Through Transitional Services about 6.30am on Thursday.
After the police operation, about 20 residents of the facility were evicted by the Nazarene Theological College, which leased buildings to the rehab centre.
The police action – involving about 24 officers – comes after concerns raised about the facility by a magistrate, police, politicians and neighbouring residents.
Police resources have been put under pressure with at least four officers going to the facility to enforce bail conditions of residents, many facing violent charges.
Cleveland police station officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Janelle Harm said the centre closure would free up police resources.
Cleveland magistrate Deborah Vasta said in court last week there were substantial drugs and people getting into trouble at the centre.
Principal of Nazarene Theological College Rob Fringer said Breaking Through had leased buildings for four years, but had been given notice to vacate by January.
“They were struggling to make their rent and were on their way out,” Reverend Fringer said.
On Thursday, the college board issued an immediate termination of the lease based on information provided by police.
Senior Sergeant Harm said tenants who were bailed to the centre had been advised to get legal advice.
“As the notice to vacate was against Breaking Through, not the residents, we have given them a few days lee-way,” said she.
Senior Sergeant Harm said police did not object to regulated and well-managed rehabilitation centres.
“Our concern was whether these people were actually getting rehabilitated,” she said.
Redlands MP Matt McEachan said it meant he had delivered on his commitment to close the centre.
“I’ve responded to copious calls and emails, I’ve held public forums, consistently kept pressure on ... in parliament and listened to locals who called for the closure of this facility,” he said.
“… This unregulated facility was a serious risk to the community.”
He said the government had announced plans for youth detention centres in the suburbs.
Acting mayor Wendy Boglary said she had been lobbying against changes introduced under the Newman government in 2013 to planning conditions which meant such places were virtually unregulated.
“I would call on the government to make the necessary changes in State Planning Regulations for the safety of our community,” she said.
She called on councils to lobby for change.
Senior Sergeant Harm said the arrested woman had been bailed to appear in Cleveland Magistrates Court on November 7.