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Residents take on drug dealers

PUBLISHED: 10:00 02 April 2010 | UPDATED: 21:46 02 July 2010

CONCERNED residents are being forced to take on drug dealers operating in their street because of a lack of help from the police, they claim. People living in Cotleigh Road, Romford, say that they have had to bravely confront the people who buy and sell

CONCERNED residents are being forced to take on drug dealers operating in their street because of a lack of help from the police, they claim.

People living in Cotleigh Road, Romford, say that they have had to bravely confront the people who buy and sell drugs in their street.

One resident, who did not want to be named because of fear of reprisals, said: "We follow all the guidelines on the police website but nothing ever seems to be done.

"Out of frustration we have just been driven to handle the problem ourselves."

For the last two years the residents claim that their street has been blighted with people buying and selling drugs, after CCTV cameras installed in nearby Waterloo Estate pushed the problem into the side streets.

Since then they have had to deal with an assortment of buyers, some as young as 14, congregating around parked cars and in the churchyard of nearby St Andrew's, trading in alleged illegal drugs.

They even claim that they have seen people on motorbikes waiting in their streets then been handed packages from parked cars.

Father John Francis at St Andrew's Church said that it was an ongoing problem.

He said: "We have contacted the police and installed security gates but I am not sure what more there is for us to do.

"The problem is that they are very quick and we can't get the police to be around at a specific time, but it is clearly a question that the police need to address."

Only last week a resident claims that she was spat at and abused when she confronted a group allegedly waiting to buy drugs.

After contacting the police she was told that an inspector would call her back, but a week later had still not received a response.

She said: "I feel that we have just been left to get on with it because when we report things to them they do not do anything.

"If they keep on ignoring people then soon people will just stop reporting things."

Brooklands Safer Neighbourhood team has argued that they have stepped up their patrol to deal with the issue.

But residents argue that they have not got the resources to deal with it and when they have followed their advice nothing comes of it.

A resident said: "They are supposed to be the eyes and ears of the community but they don't do anything."

A Havering Police spokesman said: "Police were made aware in September 2009 that suspected drug deals were taking place in Cotleigh Road.

"Brooklands Safer Neighbourhood Team has been working with residents in the direct area on a weekly basis.

"Brooklands Safer Neighbourhood Team has used a problem solving approach to this matter and has involved a number of partnership agencies to try to stop suspected dealing and to reassure local residents.

"Additional patrols have been placed in the area and stop and search activities have been used as a deterrent. Six cannabis warnings have been issued and a number of drugs warrants have been undertaken.

"Additional action with street care and the local Drug Alcohol Action Team are ongoing.

"Dealing with this type of crime often takes some time and requires a number of different agencies to work together to resolve the issues.

"We are always available to assist residents with her concerns.


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