Time to act on the district’s drugs scourge

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Local politicians have called on the Banbridge community to work together to tackle the scourge of drugs in the town.

The call came following the death of Brian Finegan in Kenlis Street in the town last Thursday (August 7).

The 28 year old died suddenly and it is believed that drugs were involved in his death. Three men, one man in his 40s and two men in their 20s, were arrested in connection with the death but were later released.

Councillor Glenn Barr said the people of Banbridge “can no longer sit on their hands” and they must speak up and share any information they have with the police.

“People need to come forward to local representatives, the PSNI or the PCSP with information,” said Mr Barr. “It is only with the help of the local community that this issue can be tackled.
Everyone may know about the problem but for the PSNI to take action they need intelligence. No longer can people sit on their hands and do nothing. People need to come forward and help their own community.”

Chief Inspector Ian Campbell echoed Mr Barr’s words and urged the local community to come forward with information.

“One death caused by drugs is one too many and our thoughts are with the family of this young man as they come to terms with their loss,” he said.

“The vast majority of our society have no interest in drugs but there is a small minority of people who depend on them, who actively seek drugs and who want them readily available on their doorstep.

Our greatest challenge is helping the minority to see that drugs have no place in our society. This is not something that can be achieved through policing alone - this can only be achieved through partnership work with education and health bodies and consistent support from the local community.

“For our part, we are seeing that support from the community. We are receiving information and we are acting on it. During July, we conducted 50 searches of individuals and six searches of premises under the Misuse of Drugs Act. During the first weekend in August, we seized herbal cannabis with an estimated street value of £8,000 during a planned search in the Hillhead Gardens area, in addition to the seizure of almost half a kilo of suspected cocaine in Hillside Park at the end of July.

“These seizures are a direct result of you, the community, working with us.

“I want to reassure local residents that we are doing everything in our power to increase drug seizures and arrests and we are working with our partner agencies to find solutions through enforcement, education, welfare and society.

“If you have information or need advice on the issue of drugs please pick up the phone and contact us at Banbridge Police Station on the 101 non-emergency number.”