A FURIOUS former Mayor of Evesham has lambasted police chiefs for failing to tackle the ‘massive’ drug problem in the town.
Coun Alan Booth launched the attack during an Evesham Town Council meeting on Monday where West Mercia Police Chief Inspector Neil Austin, area commander for rural Wychavon, was grilled on a host of issues.
But following Chf Insp Austin’s admission his force was struggling to identify ‘county line’ drug operations in Evesham, Coun Booth furiously claimed the town was awash with cannabis and crystal meth.
‘County lines’ are organised crime gangs, mainly found in Birmingham or London, who move drugs into towns like Evesham.
The gangs use untraceable mobile phone numbers for drugs to be ordered.
Operation Blade, the force’s investigation into ‘county lines,’ is currently looking into 14 drug operations in South Worcestershire.
“At the moment we are struggling to identify the ones in Evesham, but we’ve had a lot of successes in Worcester and Droitwich where we targeted these lines.
“In regards to Evesham, if we get intelligence we will act upon it as long as we’ve got the resources available. At the moment the level of intelligence is fairly low.”
Coun Booth responded and said: “I was at the pub the other night and a resident lambasted me for about three quarters of an hour about drugs in this town and where they are being stashed at drop-off points and it seems to be all the telephone kiosks.
“Could you ask all your officers to give them a check every so often when they are going around?”
Chf Insp Austin agreed but claimed his force were not receiving any information from local people.
But Coun Booth hit back and said: “The police officers know the same as we do. I have fought drugs for years and years, not just round here, but in the centre of Birmingham.
“This town is awash with cocaine and awash with crystal meth. The intelligence is there and it must be known to you people.”
In response, Chf Insp Austin said: “I have looked at our system and the intelligence is not there.
“And that’s where if people don’t report it to us we don’t know about it, we can’t do anything about it. There’s a presumption we know, we don’t know.”
Anyone with information can call West Mercia Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org