Cocaine shocker for St Neots town centre pubs
LAW-breaking revellers in St Neots have been getting their fix by snorting cocaine off toilet rims and hand-dryers in the town s bars and pubs. The shocking revelation follows a visit by police and Huntingdonshire District Council licensing officials to p
LAW-breaking revellers in St Neots have been getting their fix by snorting cocaine off toilet rims and hand-dryers in the town's bars and pubs.
The shocking revelation follows a visit by police and Huntingdonshire District Council licensing officials to popular town centre drinking hotspots.
Of the seven watering holes visited, six were found to have evidence of drug use.
This was determined by police using drug ID wipes to search surfaces for traces of cocaine.
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Sector Inspector Mark Greenhalgh who led the operation said most of the drug use was found in the toilet area, with it being most evident in the ladies toilets.
The wipes turn blue when even the tiniest traces of cocaine are found and even pick up the drug on a surface that has been washed.
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Evidence of cocaine was found on hand-dryers, toilet seats and even a toilet rim.
Last month was the first time the wipes have been used in St Neots and Inspector Greenhalgh said they would be used regularly to raise awareness.
He said: "I was surprised and a lot of the licensees were shocked by what we found.
"Cocaine seems to have become the recreational drug of choice in St Neots and we need to nip it in the bud before it becomes a major issue.
"This operation has worked to alert licensees to the problem and will be working with them to provide preventive advice."
He believes the rise in cocaine use could be due to its drop in price with a gram falling from �60 at the start of the year to �40 and smaller bags available for �20.
But Inspector Greenhalgh said he had heard in some cases that the bags not only contained cocaine but also washing powder and baking soda.
To crackdown on drug use, licensees will be encouraged to conduct regular checks of their lavatories, carry out door searches and keep their eyes peeled.
Although there was no evidence of drug dealing at any of the premises, Inspector Greenhalgh said he is considering issuing the drug wipes to licensees.
He said: "If you see drug-taking, report it to a member of staff or to police. Anyone caught in possession of a Class A substance will be dealt with robustly."
INFORMATION: Do you think St Neots has a drug problem and what do you think should be done to deal with it? E-mail your views to: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to: St Neots Drug debate, The Hunts Post, 30 High Street, Huntingdon, PE29 3TB