Drug crimes soaring

Crime story

Crime story

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MORE than 1,200 drug-related crimes were recorded by police in Wigan over the past two years and the figures show the figure is rising year on year.

Figures released to the Evening Post under Freedom of Information legislation show that possession of drugs is the most common offence, accounting for 931 criminal offences between April 1 2012 and March 31 2014.

There were 29 recorded crimes relating to the supply of drugs and 163 connected to their production, manufacture and cultivation.

However, not one crime concerning the illegal importation of drugs was recorded by police.

In 2012/13 there were 617 drug-related crimes, but that had risen to 652 in 2013/14.

Chief Supt Shaun Donnellan of GMP’s Wigan Division said: “We take the whole issue of drugs seriously across the borough, and recognise the scourge wrought upon our communities, and how this impacts on those who live or work in Wigan.

“As would be anticipated, the number of people who use drugs is far higher than the small number of criminals who are involved in their importation or supply at street level.

“To tackle those who use drugs, we work closely with partners to educate people and give them the support to break their addictions, and regarding suppliers, we relentlessly pursue, prosecute and remove assets from this small number of people who prey on the weakness of others.”

One high profile case saw a man jailed for six years in July this year after running a Class A drug production operation from his Marus Bridge home.

Ian Hall was sentenced to six years and eight months having been found with a large quantities of heroin and cocaine in his car during a routine police stop.

A search of his Navenby Road address uncovered evidence of Class A drug production including a metal press, packaging and cutting agents.

Hall, 35, was stopped by officers driving on the M1 near Hemel Hempstead on the morning of July 3 in a blue Ford Escort as part of a check by a road policing unit, the court heard.

A search of the car found a number of house brick sized packages wrapped in brown tape.

The haul contained 10 kilos of what is believed to be heroin and two of what are believed to be cocaine.