Brave waiter who waived anonymity to close Stratford crack house gets police award

Sylvester Awynyo with his police bravery award

Sylvester Awynyo with his police bravery award - Credit: Archant

A brave waiter who put himself in danger to help shut down a crack house on his road has said that he was “just doing his duty”.

Sylvester Awunyo, 27, waived his right to anonymity to give evidence against the owner of the crack house in Stratford.

He was the only civilian to win an award for his courage during Newham Police’s commendation ceremony earlier this month.

Sylvester, of Henniker Road, said: “I felt like it was my duty to stand up and help in getting the crack house closed. I don’t believe that it was only up to the officers to do the work.

“It’s my road and that is where I live, and I feel like it is up to me to help get rid of any nuisance because it’s my home.”

Although officers were able to persuade a handful of residents to provide statements, Sylvester was the only person who voluntarily appeared in court twice to give evidence.

On October 29, following an unsuccessful appeal from the defendant, a closure order was successfully implemented, making it a criminal offence for anyone to enter or live in the premises.

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Sylvester said: “The defendent had lived in our street for around 10 years. We had no idea what was actually going on, but he was a nuisance and made all of our lives hell.

“I found out it was being used as a crack house when the police turned up in July this year and I decided it was important to help as much as I can. I know other people were scared and reluctant, but I felt like I had to do something.”

Superintendent Ian Larnder added: “What Sylvester did showed great bravery. We can’t do our jobs to the best of our abilities without the public’s help.”

During the awards ceremony, which was held at the Aquatics Centre in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, prizes were handed out to employees from across the force in recognition of their hard work.

A special award was handed out to former Borough Commander Nick Bracken, who has also received an OBE for his services to policing.

Nick, who now works as Newham Council’s director of enforcement and safety, said: “I am absolutely thrilled to receive such an award.

“I’m a Newham boy through and through and am very passionate about the borough.”