Cops launch ‘hostile’ attack on Weston’s drug dealers

PUBLISHED: 07:00 10 January 2019

Town Centre Police Sergeant Lee Kerslake.

Town Centre Police Sergeant Lee Kerslake.

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One of Weston-super-Mare’s top cops hopes to make the town a ‘hostile’ environment for drug dealers exploiting a ‘massive’ narcotics market.

Town Centre Police Sergeant Lee Kerslake's goals for 2019.Town Centre Police Sergeant Lee Kerslake's goals for 2019.

Town Centre Police Sergeant Lee Kerslake has lifted the lid on the work of Weston’s police officers to tackle the town’s much-maligned drug issues.

Weston – like many towns – has been targeted by county lines drug gangs and cuckooing, which sees substances and dealers sent from cities like London to exploit vulnerable people and use their homes to pedal drugs.

Sgt Kerslake conceded there is big demand for drugs in Weston, but believes his team is working well to tackle the issue and lock up the dealers peddling misery.

He said: “Drugs is a big part of our work. We get reports of relatively open drug dealing and very open drug taking, but I hope recently people have noticed a difference.

City-based criminals have been targeting vulnerable people in Weston. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotoCity-based criminals have been targeting vulnerable people in Weston. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

“We’ve done lots of work on county lines, we’ve done a lot of work on identifying people who are causing problems for Weston, and we’ve been doing what we can to take them off the streets.

“It’s a massive market, it’s a big money market and it’s not just Weston – there is a lot of demand in every town for illegal drugs.

“What we look to do is make it as hostile as we can to people looking to do it.”

Sgt Kerslake told the Mercury his officers are particularly focussing on cuckooed addresses to protect vulnerable people and stemming the flow of drugs into the town.

A focus on securing injunctions and criminal behaviour orders to stop high-profile offenders from returning to the town are also a key focus for the sergeant.

He said: “We are doing checks every day at cuckooed addresses, where drug dealers take advantage of a vulnerable person and take control of their home.

“Many times we do that, we find there is someone trying to get out the back or hiding.

“We had one hiding as a bin bag. There were a stack in the kitchen and they were trying to hide amongst them in their black puffer jacket.

“They will do all sorts of stuff, but we will find them and we will deal with them.

“If these people are coming down from London and are abusing people and taking their addresses, we lock them up and stop them from coming back to this town.

“We’re not just in the office drinking coffee and eating donuts, we’re focussed on the right things and we’re getting results.”

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