Shocking tally of abuse on streets

There were 50 drug seizures in the past year on the Promenade. BELOW: Beryl Hudson, Steve Pope, Terry Bennett and Det Chief Insp Brian Quinn.
There were 50 drug seizures in the past year on the Promenade. BELOW: Beryl Hudson, Steve Pope, Terry Bennett and Det Chief Insp Brian Quinn.
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The Gazette can reveal the 20 streets worst hit by drugs… figures for seizures in the past year.

1. Promenade, Blackpool - 50 seizures

Beryl Hudson, grandma of the late Melissa Faulkner.

Beryl Hudson, grandma of the late Melissa Faulkner.

2. Queen Street, Blackpool - 48 seizures

3. Talbot Road/ Square, Blackpool - 35 seizures

4. Central Drive, Blackpool - 21 seizures

5. Park Road, Blackpool - 21 seizures

Former addict Steve Pope who now works as a counsellor.

Former addict Steve Pope who now works as a counsellor.

6. Dickson Road, Blackpool - 19 seizures

7. Station Road, South Shore - 18 seizures

8. East Park Drive, Blackpool - 16 seizures

9. Church Street, Blackpool - 16 seizures

Terry Bennett, chairman of the Grange Park community partnership.

Terry Bennett, chairman of the Grange Park community partnership.

10. Market Street, Blackpool - 16 seizures

11. Ashfield Road, Bispham - 15 seizures

12. The Strand, Blackpool - 15 seizures

13. Leeds Road, Blackpool - 15 seizures

Det Chief Insp Brian Quinn

Det Chief Insp Brian Quinn

14. Bank Hey Street, Blackpool - 14 seizures

15. Lytham Road, South Shore - 13 seizures

16. Springfield Road, North Shore -12 seizures

17. Kent Road, Blackpool - 12 seizures

18. Waterloo Road, South Shore - 12 seizures

19. Louise Street, Blackpool - 10 seizures

20. Cookson Street, Blackpool - 10 seizures

THE VICTIM

Beryl Hudson, grandmother of a drugs victim

In 2009, Beryl Hudson’s world fell apart when her granddaughter Melissa Faulkner died from a fatal cocktail of heroin and the pain relief medication 
dihydrocodeine.

Ms Hudson still insists the pretty 23-year-old was not a drug user, and had been “groomed” by a heroin addict – although no charges have ever been brought.

Three years on, Ms Hudson said: “It’s been really hard since Melissa died, I can’t put it into words.

“I carry on but it’s like a big black cloud.

“Melissa was my daughter’s only daughter and we are very different people, she is grieving in her own way.

“We do talk about Melissa but we can’t sit and talk in-depth to each other about her because it’s too upsetting.

“She was not a drug user and I think she was groomed by a bloke to take the drugs, he was the heroin user.

“When I found out what he was she even stripped off in front of me to prove (she wasn’t injecting) and there was not a mark on her body.

“I want to stop anybody else going through the same thing.”

THE EXPERT

Steve Pope, a former addict who now works as a counsellor

As a psychotherapist and counsellor, Steve Pope works with drug addicts across the resort.

He has seen first hand the devastating impact drugs have on families and communities, and believes the problem is now so widespread it is out of control.

Mr Pope, who works at a drug rehabilitation centre in Bispham, said: “Without a doubt, drugs ruin lives.

“It is not just the life of the user, it is the life of the family around them – the user has the problem and the family wear the stocks.

“It destroys families and tears the whole family apart.

“We have lost the battle against drugs, they are now an inherent part of our society.

“We have to educate the next generation on the consequences of drugs. We’ve done it with food, children know what’s bad and what’s good, and we need to do it with drugs.

“I’m dealing with families on a Blackpool estate where you have the grandma, mum and granddaughter all smoking crack – what role model has the granddaughter got to follow?

“The problem is people are more scared of the drug dealers than the police, and for every drug dealer they take off the streets there is another waiting to take his place.”

THE COMMUNITITES

Blackpool’s estates – including Grange Park and Queens Park, Layton – have had their share of problems with drugs over the years

IT IS not just drug users and dealers who are affected by their crime – drug taking impacts on entire communities.

Thefts and burglaries are linked to drug use, while innocent neighbours can be made to feel uneasy by suspicious activity.

On Grange Park, Terry Bennett, chairman of the estate’s community partnership, has witnessed drug-dealing and crime first hand.

He said: “Although there aren’t as many drug dealers as there were, I saw drug dealing taking place at the side of Horsebridge Road earlier this year.

“And I have a neighbour who is 85 and was walking his dog 50 yards from his front door when a young girl came up behind him and snatched his gold chain from around his neck.

“That is a young girl robbing an 85-year-old and it’s probably drugs related. People would feel safer if there were less drugs on the estate.”

On Queens Park, in Layton, residents’ association chairman Gwen King, said drugs problems are not as widespread as they used to be – thanks to the work which has been carried out there.

Work by the association, police and council has helped clean the estate up.

Mrs King added: “We’ve made quite serious inroads into the drugs problem and we don’t have a big problem nowadays, but going back a few years we did.

“There’s been a lot of work done on Queens Park since I moved on 10 to 15 years ago.

“The community feels safer now. It is a community and everyone talks to everyone, whereas before everyone was looking over their shoulders.

“A lot of people felt unsafe going out at night because there was this drugs culture.

“Now people can’t say Queens Park is a drugs haven anymore.”

THE POLICE

Police are the frontline in the fight against drugs in Blackpool

OFFICERS today stressed the vital role communities can play in the fight against Blackpool’s drug dealers.

Officers regularly stage raids across the resort – with the majority of information coming from public tip-offs.

And Det Chief Insp Brian Quinn, from Blackpool CID, insisted the drugs problem in the town was no worse than anywhere else, and stressed the number of seizures demonstrates the hard work of police.

He said: “This is not a problem that is specific to Blackpool, it is certainly pan-Lancashire and therefore a national issue.

“It is an issue around the availability of controlled drugs and we’re clear as a constabulary around our approach to drugs - we target those who profit from drugs not those who suffer.”

There were 43 listed seizures on Bonny Street and Det Chief Insp Quinn added: “A lot of the seizures will be people who have been stop searched or people who come into custody for other reasons and we find a quantity of drugs on them.

“The vast majority are not people who are in Blackpool to deal drugs and they will be dealt with appropriately, but we want to target the people who are involved in supply. It’s important the community contact us and let us know what’s going on and we will act on that - it might be it feeds into wider intelligence or we may do some fairly prompt action.

“When we do take this action and execute warrants the community are generally supportive.”

The police, along with Blackpool Council, have recently purchased a thermal imaging camera to help track drugs farms, and Coun Eddie Collett, cabinet member for crime and community safety, added: “We are working closer than ever with the police and other partners to help reduce the detrimental impact that these can have on people’s lives and their local communities.

“This involves seizing the drugs on the street, but it is not the only answer.

“As opposed to stopping one person in the street, the camera now allows us to stop the drugs getting into many people’s hands in the first place, helping us to protect our local communities.”

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