11 PEO­PLE CHARGED AF­TER UNDERCOVE DRUGS OP­ER­A­TION

Evening Express (City Final) - - Front Page - BY DALE HASLAM

DRUG users are be­ing of­fered sup­port to break the cy­cle of ad­dic­tion in the wake of po­lice raids. As re­ported in later edi­tions of yes­ter­day’s Evening Ex­press, po­lice raided six prop­er­ties in Fraser­burgh yes­ter­day, in­clud­ing in Manse Street and Scal­loway Park, and made seven ar­rests, af­ter spend­ing 10 weeks mon­i­tor­ing crim­i­nals un­der Op­er­a­tion Cor­ner. Be­tween Fri­day and Sun­day, po­lice raided 12 prop­er­ties in Fraser­burgh and Peter­head and ar­rested 13 peo­ple. Eleven were charged in con­nec­tion with al­leged drugs of­fences. Po­lice said some of those caught up in the raids, which were wit­nessed by The Evening Ex­press, are drug ad­dicts who fall into debt to groups and agree to use their homes as drugs dens as “pay­ment”. Oth­ers are “county lines” – crim­i­nals sent by or­gan­ised crime groups from the north­west of Eng­land to deal drugs. Both these groups are seen by po­lice as vul­ner­a­ble and they are work­ing with NHS Grampian and other or­gan­i­sa­tions to help them. Lynne Bower, com­mu­nity psy­chi­a­try nurse at Kes­sock Clinic in Fraser­burgh, said: “In years gone by, po­lice would kick the door down, take deal­ers away and it wouldn’t solve the prob­lem, but now we are pro­vid­ing a wrap­around care. “I gen­uinely be­lieve we can break the cy­cle of ad­dic­tion. “Peo­ple caught up in these raids have sig­nif­i­cant ad­dic­tion is­sues and we can get treat­ment very quickly for things like opi­ate ad­dic­tion.” She added: “Some are al­ready known to us and we’ve be­come in­creas­ingly con­cerned about their vul­ner­a­bil­ity to­wards out­side deal­ers. “They tell us they are deal­ing drugs for peo­ple out­with the area and are in con­trol – but that can quickly turn toxic as crim­i­nals from or­gan­ised crime groups in Eng­land can be very vi­o­lent.” De­tec­tive Chief In­spec­tor Lorna Fer­gu­son said: “This op­er­a­tion is not just about putting doors in. There are vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple in­volved and we need to safe­guard them and put mea­sures in place to en­sure they get the sup­port they need. “Drug mis­use makes life chaotic for in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies and that is why we’re tak­ing a multi-agency ap­proach.” As part of Op­er­a­tion Cor­ner, a mo­bile in­for­ma­tion unit has been set up out­side Da­lyrym­ple Hall in Fraser­burgh, to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion to res­i­dents about the op­er­a­tion and sup­port to vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple. Or­gan­i­sa­tions in­volved in­clude Aberdeen­shire Health and So­cial Care Part­ner­ship, Aberdeen­shire Al­co­hol and Drug Part­ner­ship (AADP) and Aberdeen­shire Coun­cil, who can help peo­ple tackle ad­dic­tion and get ad­vice on hous­ing, ben­e­fits and job-seek­ing. AADP team lead Wayne Gault said: “We should never for­get that many of the in­di­vid­u­als with ad­dic­tions are dis­tressed and in cri­sis. They are the vic­tims of un­scrupu­lous drug deal­ers who are only con­cerned about the money they make. “In many cases, these peo­ple are vul­ner­a­ble and any­thing that we can do to break the cy­cle of ad­dic­tion and harm is ab­so­lutely the right thing to do.”

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