THE number of drug dealers being detected by police in East Renfrewshire has increased over the last year.

Latest figures show a six per cent rise in the number of people discovered to be supplying controlled drugs from April 2018 to March 2019, when compared to the same period last year.

This includes a “substantial recovery” in Newton Mearns, where officers recovered two kilograms of cannabis and 17,000 Etizolam tablets, which have been dubbed ‘the Blue Plague’ for the devastating impact they have had on communities.

Chief Inspector John McQuilter, area commander for East Renfrewshire, told councillors “quite a number” of drug-related deaths across Scotland have been linked to Etizolam.

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“It’s impacting on people’s lives quite significantly,” he said.

Several arrests were made locally in the final quarter of 2018 due to drug dealing.
Mr McQuilter added: “This proactivity has resulted in an increase in the number of people being detected for the supply of controlled drugs in the last year and a 24 per cent increase against the five-year average.

“Local problem-solving team officers have executed search warrants at addresses in the Barrhead and Newton Mearns areas. Quantities of controlled drugs, which included cannabis, cocaine and LSD, were seized and reports have been submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

“We have also shared information regarding house searches with East Renfrewshire Council’s housing department, who were able to secure two eviction decrees for tenants that were dealing drugs.”

A police report states the force is committed to gathering information on those who supply drugs and will focus activity on disruption, intervention and enforcement.

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Efforts to influence young people are also being made, with dedicated school campus officers raising awareness of the effects of drug abuse.

Police have also been working with the council’s licensing team to prevent alcohol-related violence.

Mr McQuilter said: “In March, we secured the temporary suspension of a licensee who was failing to operate their premises in a fit and proper manner and have also reported a shopkeeper for selling alcohol to underage youths. It is anticipated that this individual’s licence will be reviewed in the coming months.”

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