More and more drug dealers are leaving the bright lights of the capital and moving to Sudbury, it was revealed at a public meeting last week.
They then target vulnerable people, take over their home in exchange for drugs, and deal from their property – an increasing problem known as ‘cuckooing’.
Danny Cooper, Suffolk Constabulary’s Inspector for Sudbury and Haverhill, told a public meeting in All Saints’ Church Hall on Wednesday that it provided dealers with fewer risks compared to selling drugs on the streets.
“Unfortunately, Sudbury does have a demand for class A drugs,” said Insp Cooper.
“It’s one of our priorities to stay on top of, because, if they take hold, we’ll have a big problem.”
Operation Velocity has been set up by Suffolk Police to tackle class A drugs across the county.
“If we get any information, we will get a warrant, put the door in and do a search,” said Insp Cooper, who added that, in some cases, offences in Sudbury were drug-related.
“We do get occasional serious assaults here and quite often they are connected to the world of drugs,” he revealed.
Jan Osborne, a town and district councillor, raised concerns about the impact drugs could have on the area.
“We want to attract investment into the town and we’re not going to do that if Sudbury gets a reputation as a place for drugs,” she said.
Mrs Osborne said she and her husband, Adrian, who is also a town and district councillor, have received calls from people concerned about drug use.
“We’ve gone down and taken a look,” said Mrs Osborne, who wants to see the issue tackled. “It was during the summer months when children were playing
“I think it’s really critical that we start to stamp it out now before it becomes a problem.”
Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore, pictured, said limited resources had caused obstacles.
“If we could have another 100 officers dealing with the problem, it would be great, but we can’t because there are so many conflicting priorities,” he said.
Mr Passmore added that other agencies, including the social care system, needed to share intelligence with police.
“We’re not going to deal with this unless we are all working together,” he said.
Concerns about drug use in schools were also raised by Michael Holt, district councillor for Glemsford and Stanstead.
He asked for reassurances that work was being done to prevent the issue and that schools were being proactive in their approach.
“Drugs have the potential to breed crime and violence, disrupting our society immensely,” said Mr Holt. “I’m quite concerned that youngsters within our area have the availability to buy them.”
Mr Passmore told the meeting that, in his opinion, more could be done to prevent a drug culture among young people.