TWO people were arrested and charged with drug offences last week, as police stress they are tackling the issue of drugs in Portadown.
In a search of the Woodside Hill area of the Garvaghy Road on Friday, suspected herbal cannabis with a street value of £1,500 was seized and four men were arrested.
A 29-year-old man was charged with drugs offences and a second 29-year-old was reported to the Public Prosecution Service. A 26-year-old man and a 27-year-old were released unconditionally.
On Thursday, a 21-year old man was arrested and charged after a search in the Hartfield Square area when mephedrone with a street value of between £,1400 and £1,800 as well as a quantity of suspected ecstasy tablets were seized.
Inspector Phil Shepherd, of Portadown Neighbourhood Policing Team, said police were aware of concerns about illegal drugs in Portadown and were “conducting searches and making enquiries on a daily basis”.
He added, “We want to reassure the community that we are doing everything possible to disrupt the supply of drugs and bring those involved before the courts.”
Concerns have been raised in the past weeks about the extent of the drugs problem in the Garvaghy Road area of the town, with a local councillor speaking of a ‘buy now, pay later’ schemes which charge high rates of interest, while a man working in the education sector claims that the drugs scene in the area is “enormous”.
Just this week, another local resident contacted the Portadown Times. He said drugs activity was going on “24 hours a day”. “They are coming and going in taxis and on bikes. The amount of drugs being sold here is incredible and it’s so blatant.
“The lads who are selling the drugs aren’t getting a lot of money - and they are probably caught in a poverty trap and using whatever money they get on drugs for themselves - but there’s someone behind it all who is making a lot of money and getting youngsters hooked on drugs and involved in crime to pay for those drugs.”
He added, “I have been on to the police and they have come down but I still feel not enough is being done. We need a concerted approach to deal with this problem.”
Inspector Phil Shepherd, Portadown Neighbourhood Policing Team, said police had been working alongside communities in Portadown over the last few years to tackle the issue of illegal drugs.
“We have built on engagement and partnerships in local neighbourhoods and have developed trust so that those with concerns are now coming forward and talking to us,” he said.
“This means that we are receiving accurate and current information about the actions of those involved in drugs which allows us to pursue investigations and make arrests. When we receive timely information about what is happening in the area we can take steps to address it.”
He urged anyone with information about the sale and use of drugs to contact police in Portadown on 0845 600 8000.