Drugs seized at Wigan Magistrates court

editorial image

HEROIN, cocaine and cannabis are regularly being seized by security staff as people try to enter Wigan Magistrates Court.

Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request show that in 2011, 29 seizures of drugs were made at the court by security staff, along with many other banned items, including tools and knives.

The figures showed that in 2011, 23 tools including Stanley knives were seized at court, as well as 11 knives and 36 bottles and cans of alcohol.

Security staff also confiscated 23 cameras and 21 items with recording equipment.

A spokesman for Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) said: “HMCTS takes the issue of security within courts extremely seriously, and has a rigorous system in place, including mandatory bag searches, bag scanners, metal detectors and surveillance cameras, to ensure the safety of all court users.”

“It is an offence to be in possession of a knife with a blade of more than three inches.

“If an individual is caught trying to enter any court building with such a knife, the police will be called and appropriate action will be taken. The same applies to those who are found in possession of illegal drugs on the premises.

“In the case of knives that have a blade shorter than three inches, the owner has 28 days from the date of confiscation to apply in writing to the court to reclaim it. If the court considers that the knife was lawfully held, then the owner can reclaim the item.”

HMCTS also sasy that its security staff, who search all people including visitors and legal representatives on entering the courts complex, are told to seize any items which could be used as a weapon.

These can include aerosols, umbrellas and soft drinks cans, as well as conventional weapons or objects should as motor tools which could be used in an offensive manner.

An HMCTS spokesman added: “We take security within courts extremely seriously and we have a rigorous system in place, including mandatory bag searches, bag scanners, metal detectors and surveillance cameras, to ensure the safety of all court users.

“A court security officer may request the surrender of articles if he or she reasonably believes that an article in the possession of a person in or seeking to enter the court may jeopardise the maintenance of order in the court building; may put the safety of any person in the court building at risk, or is evidence of, or in relation to an offence.”