An operation targeting recreational drug users is set to kick-off in Cheshire this weekend.
Operation Powdered will be running throughout the summer as part of Cheshire Constabulary’s continued efforts to tackle drug related crime and child criminal exploitation.
As part of the operation officers from the Local Policing Units (LPU), with support of the Special Constabulary and police drug dogs, will be conducting drug checks at pubs and bars across the county.
The six-week operation will see the team target a different area of the county each weekend, with an aim to raise awareness of how recreational drug use can play a part in fuelling criminal enterprises, child exploitation and also the detrimental impact on wider communities.
Leading the operation, Superintendent Gareth Wrigley said: “This operation is a proactive approach to ensure we are targeting numerous aspects relating to drugs and organised crime.
“While we are actively pursuing and disrupting organised crime groups we must also educate and inform the public on the impact that taking drugs for pleasure or a lifestyle choice, can have on the community.
“People who take recreational drugs may not be aware that they’re causing anyone harm or playing a part in a criminal enterprise however they are often the final link in a long chain that can be associated with threats and serious violence.”
As part of the operation, a digital van will be deployed showing a number of videos in a bid to disrupt and deter recreational drug use. One of the videos will explore some of the ingredients that could be added to bulk out cocaine which recreational users may not be aware they are inhaling.
Another video will show how children can often be at risk of criminal exploitation – targeted by organised criminals who sit at the top of the chain initiating the supply of class A and class B drugs to fund a lavish lifestyle. The child can often be living in fear, trapped and at risk of serious violence in order to make criminal gains for those at the top.
Those who take recreational drugs are playing an active part in fuelling further exploitation of often vulnerable children.
Superintendent Wrigley added: “People using recreational drugs often don’t realise what they are actually taking or the impact that they can have on their health or future career.
“Many illegal drugs often contain a number of other substances which are used as bulking agents – these can include anything from benzocaine to phenacetin, these substances are known to have a number of side effects including seizures, irregular heartbeats even kidney failure.
“In addition, anyone caught in possession of illegal drugs could be arrested and will face the prospect of a criminal record, which can impact them for the rest of their lives.”
Anyone with any information in relation to illegal drug activity in their community is urged to report it to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit www.cheshire.police.uk/tua.