Banish them!

FOR too long, Weston has been used as a dumping ground as other towns and cities look to offload their drug addicts.

FOR too long, Weston has been used as a dumping ground as other towns and cities look to offload their drug addicts.

Our town has been a soft touch and an easy target, and its residents have paid the price.

Drug dealing, crime and antisocial behaviour have resulted, as toothless authorities fought a forlorn battle to stem the tide.

For years, we have lamented this problem and wished for a decisive, effective solution - and at last, we might have one.


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For the past two weeks, Weston police have been identifying and arresting known and suspected drug dealers across the town.

More than 20 have been swept up in a series of raids, as officers look to put a crippling dent in the drugs supply chain.

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And rather than a slap on the wrist, or a token fine, they face a new punishment - being banished from Weston for a decade.

If the courts agree - and they are expected to, as the idea is already backed by police, council, Crown Prosecution Service and probation bosses - it could prove a pivotal moment for efforts to clean up the town.

Banned from living here, barred from working here, even blocked from visiting.

The prospect will frighten anyone who wants to make Weston their home, rather than exploit its people for their own gain.

If people realise long-term exile awaits if they deal drugs, it might prove a bigger deterrent than the soft sentences handed out by courts.

This hard-hitting legislation has never been used in Avon and Somerset before, but might finally prove to be the answer to Weston's prayers.

Efforts to end drug problems could be about to turn the corner - and that can only be good news for all of us.

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