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Drug Trafficking Unit targets Merseyside area 7 August 2008

Drugs posterTHE Isle of Man Constabulary is targeting the Merseyside area as part of its crackdown on the importation and supply of illegal substances.

Particular attention is being focussed on Liverpool and its surrounding districts, with the outcome of high-profile court cases used to highlight the Island’s tough stance on drug crime. Members of a Merseyside drug dealing syndicate were recently jailed for a total of 30 years by the Manx courts – sentences that generated widespread media coverage in the North West.

To complement the enforcement side of its work, the Drug Trafficking Unit is seeking to educate people about the consequences of attempting to smuggle drugs into the Island. Students at the College of Further Education have been commissioned to design posters to warn would-be drug peddlers of the lengthy prison terms imposed in the Isle of Man. That artwork will be displayed at airports and ferry ports in a bid to drive home the anti-drugs message.

Police intelligence has shown that that majority of people charged with drug crimes in recent months have been directly linked to the Merseyside area. Since March, the Drug Trafficking Unit has made a total of 25 arrests for serious drug-related offences such as importation, possession with intent to supply and money laundering.

Drugs poster 2In a high percentage of those cases the offenders have been from Merseyside or the illegal substances have originated from the area. The constabulary’s main focus has been on disrupting the supply of heroin to the Island and that policy has led to £71,800 worth of the Class A drug being seized in the past five months.

Minister for Home Affairs Martyn Quayle MHK, said:

‘Considerable efforts are being made to prevent illegal substances from entering the Island. Heroin can have a particularly devastating effect on a close-knit community like ours so the recent seizures represent significant progress in the fight against drug-related crime.’

The Isle of Man adopts a tiered approach to drug enforcement. The Neighbourhood Policing Teams handle instances of street dealing and possession, allowing the Drug Trafficking Unit to concentrate on the more serious offences of importation and money laundering.

The police work is supported by the Chief Minister’s Drug and Alcohol Strategy which takes a multi-agency approach to treatment and education in a bid to reduce demand. The DTU said it would continue to actively target those involved in drug-related crime in order to protect the Island’s reputation as a safe place to live, work and visit.

Drugs poster 3Detective Sergeant Allan Thompson said:

‘If people are naïve enough to be involved in the importation of drugs to the Isle of Man we will track them down, arrest them and deal with them appropriately. The Drug Trafficking Unit will not only look at long-term operations to arrest key offenders, it will also examine intelligence on a daily basis and react to anything that is identified as a potential threat to the Island. We have focussed special attention on the Merseyside area, but people everywhere should be aware that drug offences are dealt with robustly in the Isle of Man and offenders can expect long prison sentences.’

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