Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Residents hit-out at police for removing drug warning posters

A fly poster in the Rosetta area which named two alleged local drug dealers (names removed)

Residents in the Rosetta area have hit-out at the police for taking down fly posters naming and shaming alleged local drug dealers.

A number of posters were put up in the Rosetta area last week by a group calling itself ‘Parents Against Cocaine and Ecstasy’, warning that drug dealers in the area were targeting children as young as 13 at nearby schools.

Former Castlereagh councillor Tommy Sandford said four residents, who did not want to be named for fear of retribution by drug dealers, contacted him on Friday (June 19) morning because they saw police removing the posters which name two people from the area as drug dealers.

Mr Sandford said the residents believed that if there are people dealing drugs in the area then the posters should be kept up to name and shame them. The poster warns: “Do you have school age children? Please be aware that drug dealers are targeting children as young as 13 in this area.”

The poster then goes on to name two people from the area, alleging they are selling Class A drugs to children, and advises parents to contact the PSNI if they see them near their children's school.

“Let's unite to combat this menace before one of our children ends up in a bodybag,” it adds.

Mr Sandford said he is against drug dealing but said the police had to remove the posters as it is illegal to name people on them.

“If people have the names of drug dealers then why not hand them to the police and let the police deal with it,” he said.

“We’d rather people liaise with the police than put names up.”

When The CT visited the area on Friday the posters had been removed, but Mr Sandford provided a photo of one a resident took earlier.

A PSNI spokeswoman said: “Police received a report of leaflets containing allegations of criminal activity in the area posted in the Rosetta area this morning (Friday, June 19).

“The report was received shortly before 7.30am.

“Police attended and removed a number of the posters.”

Area Commander, Chief Inspector Ian McCoy, added: “The PSNI does not tolerate any type of vigilante activity and we would caution any individual or group against taking the law into their own hands. Those who do may themselves commit offences and may subsequently be liable to prosecution.”

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