POLICE are waging a new war on drug dealers in Blackpool town centre following complaints from local residents and businesses.
The resort’s neighbourhood policing team is increasing patrols in the area to tackle dealers who are coming into town from surrounding areas to sell their deadly goods.
Officers will target hot spot areas, such as Cookson Street, after residents and businessmen complained about the effect of people pedalling drugs on their doorstep during a PACT (police and communities together) meeting.
PCSO Ryan White, town centre neighbourhood police team, said: “Drugs affect the whole community, not just our residents but also people who are visiting the area and our local businesses.
“We are noticing that drug dealers who usually operate in the surrounding areas will come into the town centre in order to try and sell their wares in a more anonymous backdrop, where they think they will not be noticed.
“This is a false assumption by them – we are working closely with everyone in the town centre to prevent this illegal trade and will be taken strong action against those who bring drugs into the town.”
The operation will see police working with council staff, local businesses and other partner agencies to follow up reports of suspicious activity.
Both high visibility and covert patrols will be carried out during the day and night.
Officers will also be clamping down on anti-social behaviour that goes hand-in-hand with drug dealing.
Coun Mark Smith, Talbot ward councillor, said: “We have made drug dealing a PACT priority. We have one of the best attended PACT meetings in Blackpool, we get about 50 or 60 people each meetings
“The problem of drug dealing has raised its ugly head and work has been re-focused.
“It’s not very nice for people to be pushing drugs on street corners.
“People who attend the meeting say it impacts on the tourism trade and puts people off going around the area.
“It’s a growing threat we need to try and resolve.”
Latest statistics show there were drugs offences on Caunce Street, East Topping Street, Queen Street, and Talbot Road in March.
Coun Smith added: “I have got a zero tolerance stance when it comes to drugs, or any activity that disrupts people in their lives. I don’t want to see it in the town centre.
“Around Cookson Street, there are issues there. That is a hot spot for activity.
“We are supporting the initiative the police are taking.
“I think residents are pleased to see something is being done about it.
“It makes them feel confident in the council and the police.”
The crackdown comes after police announced Operation Nimrod, which targets street level dealers, had put drug dealers behind bars for more than 350 years since being launched in April 2002.
Officers involved in Nimrod have carried out 1,028 drugs warrants in Lancashire and through 13 trials have put 945 drug dealers before the courts.
Anyone with information about drug dealing in the community is asked to call the police on 101.