Drug-fuelled crimes double

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THE number of drug-fuelled crimes in Wigan has more than DOUBLED over the last four years.

Shock statistics released under Freedom of Information rules reveal that in 2012 no fewer than 199 offences were recorded as being committed while under the influence of illegal substances.

This figure has dramatically jumped up from 95 in 2009, 124 in 2010, and 134 in 2011.

Included in the 2012 total of 199 were 61 reports of assault and 13 acts of vandalism by people on drugs.

Between January and August, three people failed a breath test or urine sample whilst driving. In 2011, six motorists were found to be in charge of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs, but only one was caught in 2010. Meanwhile, 1,344 people were involved in crimes whilst drunk in 2012. This was a fall from the previous years, with 1,599 arrested in 2011 and 1,737 in 2010, The most common alcohol-related crime was assault, with 908 incidents reported in 2012.

There were also 229 complaints of criminal damage, 26 cases of harassment and seven calls related to drink-fuelled arson.

The number of people conivicted for drink-driving after a crash fell from 31 in 2009 to 11 in 2011. Between January and August last year, 11 people tested positive after a road smash. Chief Insp Gareth Hughes of Wigan Police, said: “We recognise that addictions can be the cause of, or can contribute to, offending, and to help addicts, processes have been established to ensure that crimes are recorded correctly when alcohol or drugs are a factor.

“Once offenders are brought into custody, police work with drug and alcohol services to ensure they are offered treatment to reduce their chances of reoffending.

“Drug and alcohol workers visit every detained person, and when someone seeks help, arrangements are made for a series of appointments away from the police station so the addiction can be addressed.

“Convicted offenders who have drug or alcohol problems can be sentenced to Drug Rehabilitation Requirement orders or Alcohol Treatment Requirement orders as an alternative to prison. These are monitored by probation officers and drug and alcohol services to ensure compliance, and are another way to reduce reoffending.

“Police officers continue to target those who supply drugs through intelligence gathered from the community, and I would urge the public to provide us with information about anyone involved in drug-related crime, either by calling police directly on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.”