Call for drug dealing blitz

Representatives from Blackpool Council, including Head of Quality Standards Tim Coglan
Representatives from Blackpool Council, including Head of Quality Standards Tim Coglan
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DESPERATE community leaders are demanding action over drug dealing in their community.

Members of the Whitegate Community Group claim they witnessed a man collect a prescription for heroin substitute methadone at Whitworth Chemists on the street and immediately sell it to another man outside – in broad daylight.

They allege the drug pick-up point is the cause of countless problems – with local shops often targeted by thieves.

The issue was raised at a PACT (Police and Communities Together) meeting at The Guards Club on Whitegate Drive last night.

Chairman David Slattery-Christy told The Gazette: “We couldn’t believe what we saw.

“A lot of elderly people and families get scared.

“The footfall of clients using the chemist is not beneficial to this community. Local shops are being shoplifted from regularly.

“A thorough consultation needs to take place with the community, the local drug commissioning team, and Primary Care Trust.”

But Jay Badenhorst, superintendent pharmacist for Whitworth Chemists, said: “We have no jurisdiction over the actions of any individual once they are outside the premises.

“We are working closely with the community drugs team and have used appropriate referral pathways for this alleged matter to be investigated. We believe the pharmacy is not the cause of the problems, but part of the solution.”

Dominic Blackburn, Blackpool community safety and drugs officer, said there were three drug related anti-social behaviour reports in the last year on Whitegate Drive, and only one was in the vicinity of Whitworth Chemist.

A spokesman for NHS Blackpool said: “The alleged sale of methadone on Whitegate Drive has been brought to our attention. Our partners in the community drug team, BSafe Blackpool and the Criminal Justice System will take the appropriate action when investigations are complete.

“The number of people collecting methadone prescriptions from the pharmacy in question has actually reduced by 75 per cent during the past year. ”

A police spokesman said: “We can confirm concerns have been raised. Officers regularly patrol the area, however the chemist is a lawful business and licensed for prescriptions.”