Con­cern over avail­abil­ity of drugs in Wanaka

Central Otago Mirror - - WANAKA NEWS - By MARY-JO TO­HILL

Po­lice are not rul­ing out an­other covert un­der­cover oper­a­tion in Wanaka, fol­low­ing a big drug bust late last year.

Oper­a­tion Vik­ing, an un­der­cover oper­a­tion into the Wanaka drug scene that led to eight ar­rests and con­vic­tions for deal­ing in LSD, ec­stasy and cannabis, had nearly reached its con­clu­sion, South­ern District Po­lice Or­gan­ised Crime Squad De­tec­tive Se­nior Sergeant Mal­colm Inglis said.

How­ever, while sat­is­fied with how it went, he had not ruled out do­ing an­other oper­a­tion.

‘‘We are con­cerned about the easy avail­abil­ity of drugs in Wanaka. We’d run some other op­er­a­tions in the area, and Wanaka does seem to be an easy tar­get.’’

Po­lice were con­cerned about the sus­cep­ti­bil­ity of younger people get­ting in­volved in drugs, he said.

In or­der to get an ac­cu­rate pic­ture of how sus­cep­ti­ble they were to drugs and al­co­hol, the Wanaka Al­co­hol Group, which jointly hosted the le­gal highs fo­rum with the Queen­stown Lakes District Coun­cil, is seek­ing fund­ing to sur­vey the habits of the town’s young people.

In re­la­tion to li­cens­ing, Act­ing Otago Ru­ral Area Com­man­der In­spec­tor Andrew Burns pre­vi­ously said a Queen­stown Lakes un­der­cover ini­tia­tive would run at dif­fer­ent times and in dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions over the next two years.

The de­tails of the ini­tia­tive were op­er­a­tional mat­ters, he said.

In Queen­stown, po­lice con­firmed the oper­a­tion had started dur­ing Win­ter Fes­ti­val, where four of­fi­cers were planted in li­censed premises to mon­i­tor com­pli­ance with the Sale and Sup­ply of Al­co­hol Act.

Con­sta­ble Phil Vink, of Wanaka, at­tended a re­cent meet­ing to dis­cuss le­gal highs. A group mem­ber and also the town’s youth ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cer, Vink was in­volved in the ‘‘Party Safe’’ po­lice and com­mu­nity ini­tia­tive to help young people and par­ents make re­spon­si­ble de­ci­sions around the con­sump­tion and avail­abil­ity of al­co­hol.

Photo: MARY-JO TO­HILL

Watch dog on Wanaka: Con­sta­ble Phil Vink, right, with mem­bers of the le­gal highs fo­rum panel, Wanaka Al­co­hol Group mem­ber Rachel Brown, left, Queen­stown Lakes District Coun­cil reg­u­la­tory man­ager Lee Web­ster, Ad­ven­ture De­vel­op­ment so­cial worker Struan Macdon­ald and al­co­hol group mem­ber Kathy Dedo.

Photo: BARRY HAR­COURT

Bust­ing to con­trib­ute: Aus­tralian Prue Kyme-Hob­son of Frank­ton can’t re­sist the temp­ta­tion to do­nate to the bra fence in the Cardrona Val­ley in 1994. The

fence has been mak­ing head­lines for

more than 20 years.

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