Police in H’ District have conducted 43 searches and have arrested fourteen people on suspicion of drugs offences in a concerted and ongoing campaign against ‘street level’ drug dealing whch began in September.
The seizure of an estimated £20,000 worth of class B drugs in Ballykeel, Ballymena was among the highlights of the campaign.
Now a media campaign, designed to encourage people to report drug dealing, will be combined with police action against dealers on the ground.
The media campaign, which incorporates billboards, Facebook and washroom advertising will run for the next two weeks across Northern Ireland.
Speaking about the initiative, Chief Superintendent Brian Kee said: “We know that street-level drug dealing is happening across all areas, so we need the continued help and support of local communities to remove this activity from our streets. If you know or suspect that illegal drugs are being sold or distributed in your area, please pick up the phone and contact your local Neighbourhood Policing Team on 0845 600 8000.
“The types of drugs seized during the operation so far have included suspected cannabis, herbal cannabis, cocaine, mephadrone and prescription drugs.
“Drugs bring misery to individuals, families and communities. I want to warn people to be mindful of the dangers of taking illegal drugs or misusing prescription medication or other chemical products.
“Parents need to be responsible, knowing where their children are and what they are doing. Young people who take illegal drugs may get into dangerous situations or activities that they would not normally dream of doing. It may also lead to a criminal record which can damage employment and travel prospects. In addition, this type of behaviour has the potential to seriously affect the quality of life for many residents in a community.
“We will continue to disrupt and arrest drug dealers involved in the sale and supply of drugs, bring individuals before the courts and work with communities and partner agencies to reduce the threat of harmful and illegal activity. We are asking everyone for their support and co-operation in tackling this problem through the criminal justice system.
“Our message today is clear and simple: if you see or know of anyone who is dealing drugs in your local area, then contact your local police on 0845 600 8000 or alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 and pass on any details that you may have.
“This is about empowering and working with local communities to make their neighbourhoods safer, reducing the threat posed by street-level drugs and dealing with offenders robustly through the criminal justice system.”
=Chairperson of Ballymena PCSP, Councillor James Currie, welcomed the initiative and said: “The issue of drugs is constantly raised by community representatives throughout Ballymena Borough.
“The fact that the police are prioritizing drugs through Operation Torus can only be good news. I would urge everyone to support the PSNI by lifting the phone and passing on any information they have, no matter how small. In this way we can work together to lessen the scourge of drug-related crime in our communities”