Police crack down on illegal drugs trade

District Crime Manager, DCI Colin Gillis. INNT 38-517CON
District Crime Manager, DCI Colin Gillis. INNT 38-517CON

POLICE in Newtownabbey have been cracking down street-level drug dealing as part of a Northern Ireland-wide fight against illegal drugs - Operation Torus.

The operation aims to tackle drug dealing at street level by combining police action against drug dealers on the ground with a media campaign designed to encourage local people to report drug dealing in their area.

Since operational activity began on August 20, drugs worth an estimated £11,300 have been seized by local officers during 184 searches throughout D District - Antrim, Carrickfergus, Lisburn and Newtownabbey. Thirty people have also been arrested for a range of drugs offences.

D District Crime Manager, Detective Chief Inspector Colin Gillis, explained: “We know that street-level drug dealing is a quality of life issue that concerns many local people and tackling it is a police priority.

“Drugs bring misery to individuals, families and communities and as a police service we are working extremely hard to disrupt drug dealing, identify those involved in the sale and supply of drugs in this District, arrest them and put them before the courts. As part of Op Torus local officers have taken large quantities of illegal drugs like cannabis, cocaine, mephadrone and prescription drugs off our streets during a series of successful searches. This activity will continue as we work towards permanently removing the threat these harmful drugs pose.”

Although the PSNI said it couldn’t provide a breakdown of the figures for each council area, it’s understood that several raids have taken place at the homes of suspected dealers in the Newtownabbey area.

DCI Gillis said it is vital that the public continue to lend their support to the operation.

“We need local residents to support us and be our eyes and ears on the street. If you know something about drug dealing or a drug dealer do not be afraid to pass that information on to us.

“Parents can help too by ensuring their children know the dangers and the consequences of drug taking. Young people taking illegal drugs can find themselves in dangerous situations or could end up doing things they would not normally dream of. Drug use can also lead to a criminal record which can have long term implications for employment and even travel prospects.”

He added: “My message is clear and simple: if you see or know of anyone who is dealing drugs in your local area, then pick up the phone and contact your local Neighbourhood Policing Team on 0845 600 8000. Or if you would prefer to give your information without leaving your name you can contact independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”