Crowd of 300 left gasping as drug den in Sydney’s north sells for $400,000 over reserve


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Auctioneer Charles Baynie at the sale of 52 Chesterfield Rd, Epping. Picture: David Swift.

It took a forensic clean up team two days to clear up all the needles around the home, but a notorious drug den in Sydney’s north became the site for an unlikely bidding war when it went to auction today.

The Epping home sold for nearly $1.73 million, more than $400,000 above the reserve price.

And the crowd of nearly 300 people in attendance included a team of police officers there to ensure the sale went smoothly.

The owner was alleged to have used the property as a halfway house for those out on parole and neighbours reported there had been a rise in petty crime since he took possession of the home.

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Many of those in attendance were anxious locals hoping the property at 52 Chesterfield Rd would sell so that they could get their “quiet neighbourhood back”.

There was a police barricade around the home.

About eight police officers were at the auction to ensure it went smoothly.

One neighbour living a few houses down told the Sunday Telegraph he was praying it would get a new owner and registered to bid for the auction “just in case” no one else bought it.

He said he had grown tired of repeatedly calling police to the property after numerous incidents, which included repeated drug use.

More than a dozen police raided the property in November in response to complaints about suspected drug activity.

The new owners plan a renovation.

The residents were understood to be habitual ice users and took the methamphetamines through syringes.

There had also been numerous fights outside the property and other neighbours reported seeing some of the home’s residents jumping over neighbourhood fences.

Red Truck director David Seehusen, whose company did the clean-up, said it took a team of eight people to clear away the 150-odd needles and other drug paraphernalia.

More than 500 people inspected the home during the sales campaign.

The home was also filled with “years’ worth of junk” and more than 50 laptops and TVs, he said. “It was an excruciating clean up,” he said. “The needles were just everywhere. We had to be so careful.”

Selling agent Kate Seehusen of NNW Property said her team of agents had to ensure a constant police presence at the home to ensure the sale was not disrupted.

She said there had been threats that the auction would be derailed so that the drug user residents would continue to have a place to stay.

“We had police at every open home,” she said.

Auctioneer Charles Baynie received more than 50 bids. Picture: David Swift.

There were 42 registered bidders.

The property’s dark history appeared to be little of a deterrent for buyers, with 42 registering to bid.

Ms Seehusen showed more than 500 groups of prospective buyers through the property over the last two weeks and issued more than 100 contracts of sale — each stipulating the home’s history.

Crowds at open homes were so large that six agents needed to be at the home to manage the crowds, she added.

A forensic clean up team discovered more than 150 needles at the home.

The bumper interest encouraged the agents to increase the price guide from a range of $1.05 million-$1.15 million to $1.25 million to $1.35 million.

Buyers Karen and Peter Delis said they only discovered the history of the home a few days ago but were not deterred. “We just saw it as an interesting story,” Ms Delis said. “It never bothered us.”

The couple plan to embark on a renovation.

Auctioneer Charles Baynie said the sale was “definitively not consistent” with the current market.

The home was one of 440 properties that went under the hammer today, a modest increase from the 300-odd that went to auction last weekend.

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