Drug dangers are ‘not being taken seriously’

CCTV cameras on the MPF cover the play area but it is claimed they are ineffective
CCTV cameras on the MPF cover the play area but it is claimed they are ineffective

CHILDREN are being put at risk by drug users in Steyning, an angry resident claims.

Sarah Sullivan says her complaints are being brushed aside and little is being done to stop cannabis use in Memorial Playing Field (MPF) and on the green at Fletcher’s Croft.

But Sussex Police has said it takes reports of drug use very seriously and officers will act if people are found in possession of drugs.

Mrs Sullivan, who lives adjacent to the MPF, said she was ‘incensed’ at the number of occasions she has found discarded, empty drug packets.

“I am appalled that at both sites, where they could not be in closer proximity to where the children of Steyning play upon the fenced play equipment, laying on the picnic tables were a selection of empty drug packets,” she said.

“These discarded drug packets often display a variety of eye-catching motifs, which make them attractive to children to pick up and investigate, and perhaps they do contain cannabis now, but things could spiral into harder drugs, which do take the form of easily-swallowed pills.”

She said when she took the evidence, known as ‘baggies’, to Steyning Police Station, it took three visits to even be issued with a police reference number, and that was only because she insisted. As a result, she believes many residents ‘no longer feel it is worth the effort to report them’.

Chief Inspector Howard Hodges said: “Be assured that we do take reports about drug use very seriously and will continue to monitor the situation in Memorial Playing fields.

“Of course, if we find people with drugs on their person, they will be dealt with.

“I’d like to thank Ms Sullivan for reporting the apparent drug taking, it’s really important for us to hear what is concerning the public in Steyning.

“Our officers and the community wardens from Horsham District Council will be patrolling the field. Officers at the police station are very much aware of the issues that occur in the playing fields and again will respond when necessary.

“There is an element of risk of drugs bags being discarded and we will be paying attention to this during our patrols. However, from experience, the types of bags that are being described would probably contain cannabis, which does not come in pill form.

“We would encourage people to report this to us and drug taking and use will always be a priority.”