Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Belfast nightclub revellers targeted by drugs police

Search of queues brings 32 seizures during PSNI crackdown

People heading for nightlife areas in Belfast have been targeted by police as part of the Operation Torus crackdown.

Officers in the south of the city conducted 60 drug-related searches over the weekend, some using drug sniffer dogs to sweep people queuing for venues.

They seized drugs on 32 occasions and arrested six people on drug-related offences as part of the operation, which aims to tackle street level drug dealing.

A search of a vehicle led police to a cannabis factory in Crumlin in Co Antrim where they found drugs with a street value of £33,000.

South Belfast area commander Chief Inspector Gabriel Moran said that the operation was proving a success.

“On Saturday night officers in south Belfast used a drugs dog to conduct searches of patrons queuing to attend various licensed premises,” he said.

“Through this... 19 searches were carried out, four people were reported for offences and there were 10 seizures of a variety of controlled class A, B and C drugs.

“On Sunday night officers from Laganbank Neighbourhood Policing Team stopped and searched a vehicle in the Botanic Avenue area after they noticed suspicious behaviour.

“This led to a house search in the Crumlin area, where cannabis plants with the street value of £33,000 was detected and seized.

“It is clear that, in tackling street level drug dealing, we are also managing to disrupt the supply and distribution of drugs on a larger scale.”

Chief Inspector Moran called for public help to stamp out drug supply and distribution.

He said: “Officers are working on information that they receive.

“A large number of searches are being conducted and we are getting results,” he added. “By reporting any information or concerns that you may have in relation to drug activity or suspected drug activity, you are reducing the harm caused in communities by drugs.”

Operation Torus was launched on September 17 and runs until October, combining police activity with a media campaign designed to encourage people to report drug dealing.

The media campaign incorporates billboards, Facebook and washroom advertising and will run until next month. Since August 20 police have conducted 1,142 searches and seized £287,781.25 worth of drugs. They have arrested 198 people throughout Northern Ireland.

The types of drugs seized have included cannabis, herbal cannabis, cocaine, mephedrone and prescription drugs.

To speak to police about drugs ring 0845 600 8000. Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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