An­gus provost’s call to tackle drug run­ners in county.

CAM­PAIGN: An­gus coun­cil­lor urges pub­lic to back bat­tle to root out crim­i­nals

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - jath­om­[email protected]­ JANET THOM­SON

The Provost of An­gus has urged the county’s peo­ple to get be­hind a na­tional cam­paign to root out drug gangs from ma­jor English ci­ties who are in­fil­trat­ing ru­ral ar­eas.

Coun­cil­lor Ron­nie Proc­tor has given his back­ing to the cam­paign launched to­day by the char­ity Crimestop­pers to high­light the pain and suf­fer­ing crim­i­nals from ma­jor ci­ties such as Liver­pool, Manch­ester, Lon­don and Birm­ing­ham are in­flict­ing on vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple in ru­ral and coastal towns in the north-east of Scot­land.

It aims to raise aware­ness of the sys­tem known as County Lines, which refers to the use of a sin­gle tele­phone num­ber to order drugs, op­er­ated from out­side the lo­cal area.

Vul­ner­a­ble res­i­dents are re­cruited to trans­port cash and drugs all over the coun­try, so the crim­i­nals be­hind them re­main de­tached and less likely to be caught.

They of­ten set up a base in a ru­ral area for a short time, tak­ing over the home of a vul­ner­a­ble per­son by “cuck­oo­ing” and us­ing adults and chil­dren to act as drug run­ners.

Crimestop­pers’ youth pro­gramme will give talks in sec­ondary schools to tackle the prob­lem in Aberdeen­shire, where a num­ber of cases have come to the at­ten­tion of au­thor­i­ties.

Mr Proc­tor, Scot­tish Con­ser­va­tive coun­cil­lor for Kir­riemuir and Dean, urged res­i­dents to be ex­tra vig­i­lant to en­sure gangs do not cross the bor­der and get a foothold in An­gus.

He said: “There are al­ready things like Ru­ral Watch which sends out the mes­sage loud and clear about things like hare cours­ing and the theft of oil from fuel tanks. These things are bad enough but this is dif­fer­ent, this has moved up a cou­ple of gears.

“Peo­ple liv­ing in ru­ral ar­eas have got to be ex­tra vig­i­lant. If in doubt, speak out.

“We have to nip this in the bud be­fore it gets a foothold and af­fects in­di­vid­u­als, fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties.”

An­gela Parker, Scot­land na­tional man­ager for Crimestop­pers, said: “Gangs com­ing into our com­mu­ni­ties, par­tic­u­larly the north­east, are not wel­come.

“We want to en­sure, if they do de­cide to set up their op­er­a­tion here, your in­for­ma­tion can help get them re­moved and keep com­mu­ni­ties safe.”

De­tec­tive Chief In­spec­tor Mark Bell, of Po­lice Scot­land, said: “We are work­ing with our part­ner agen­cies to iden­tify and sup­port those in our lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties who are be­ing ma­nip­u­lated by those solely driven by fi­nan­cial gain.

“Our lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties do not want these in­di­vid­u­als and we take ro­bust ac­tion to dis­rupt the harm they cause.”

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion is urged to con­tact Crimestop­pers on 0800 555 111 or use the anony­mous on­line form at Crimestop­

Po­lice break a door open dur­ing a drugs raid; An­gus Provost Ron­nie Proc­tor; and An­gela Parker from Crimestop­pers.

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