People feel 'threatened and scared' due to increase in drug dealing in Weston town centre
PUBLISHED: 07:41 07 December 2018 | UPDATED: 07:41 07 December 2018
A rise in drug dealing in parts of Weston-super-Mare town centre has caused safety fears for staff members and businesses.
Staff at Weston Museum in Burlington Street have reported several incidents of drug dealing and antisocial behaviour outside its doors to police in recent weeks.
There have also been reports of drug dealing in the Graham Road, Ellenborough Park and Orchard Street areas of central ward.
Museum visitor services manager Matt Hardy said: “This increase in drug-related activity has caused issues for those leaving the building at night as they (drug dealers) tend to gather around the entrance and exit area.
“My main concern about this issue is the safety of my team and our guests – people have told us they feel threatened and scared when they leave the building.
“I fear if this situation does not improve, it could potentially damage the reputation of the museum overall.”
The Mercury reported last month when 11 suspected offenders were arrested in Weston town centre and a number of search warrants were carried out as part of a crackdown on the supply of class A drugs.
Neighbourhood Sergeant Lee Kerslake told the Mercury: “We are aware of issues with antisocial behaviour and drugs in areas of Weston town centre.
“We understand the effect this has on staff and visitors at the museum and local businesses.
“Officers are in contact with the community, including museum staff, and are working to identify anyone responsible for causing issues in the area.
“We are carrying out targeted patrols and would ask anyone who sees suspicious or antisocial behaviour to report it to us immediately.”
Central ward councillor Richard Nightingale said: “Central ward residents have – for far too long – faced regular incidents of drug dealing, sometimes right outside of their own homes.
“A sting of drug-related arrests have taken place in recent weeks and resident co-operation has been key to this.
“Joined up working between the council, police and the whole community is the only answer to this difficult problem.
“I will certainly continue pushing hard because we must not leave this important issue, an issue which can dramatically effect people’s day to day lives, unchecked.”