A staggering £90,000 worth of drugs is being seized on average EVERY DAY from Manchester’s streets, MM can exclusively reveal.
Experts believe the daily £91,618.20 haul, mainly consisting of cocaine and heroin, is only the tip of the iceberg –with huge quantities of Class A drugs flooding into the city every year.
Greater Manchester Police seized nearly £28million worth of drugs in 6,164 separate seizures over a ten month period from July 1 last year to April 30 this year.
This is a startling average of more than 20 seizures per day.
These revelations are the first in MM’s three-part Manchester drugs exposé, with the second instalment coming tomorrow.
Sarah McCulloch, local group coordinator for Re:Vision Drug Policy Manchester, admitted the alarming figures make her worry about the quantities of drugs being supplied to Greater Manchester.
“I am absolutely shocked,” she said. “It is a bit inflated because, ultimately, drugs in the hands of police are worth nothing.
“But it is a really big number when you consider that this is barely even making a dent on the supply.
“It really makes you wonder just how much stuff is available around Manchester and how people are able to use it all.”
A total of £27,851,933 was seized by GMP over ten months with cocaine (£12,229,735), accounting for almost 45% of that total.
Cannabis (£8,599,474) and heroin (£5,480,273) made up the majority of the rest, accounting for almost 31% and 20% respectively.
The table below illustrates the values of all drugs seized by GMP from July 1 2012 to April 30 2013.
Total £ (Street Value)
The large quantities of drugs being seized illustrate the size of the demand for drugs in Greater Manchester and the size of the task police have in trying to stop the supply.
A recent joint study by the University of Manchester and Liverpool’s John Moores University revealed the North West has the highest prevalence of opiate and/or crack cocaine users in England.
According to the study, the North West has 10.83 users per thousand population (aged between 15 & 64), almost double that of the South East, which had the lowest figure of 5.98.
The study estimated that there were 49,426 users of opiates and/or crack and drug injectors in the North West between 2010/2011, second only to London, who had an estimated 52,623 users.
Detective Inspector Steve Earnshaw from GMP’s Drug Unit admitted drugs are the cause of a lot of Manchester’s crime but stressed police are determined to keep fighting the problem.
“These figures show that GMP has taken a very proactive approach to tackling drugs,” he said.
“We have managed to take a huge amount of drugs off our streets and helped in some way to reduce the misery they can spread within our communities.
“They are a major driving force behind many other crimes such as burglary, robbery and vehicle crime, which consequently has a massive impact on the lives of the majority of law abiding citizens.
“Taking on those who deal in drugs is GMP’s priority and we will continue to combat the threat of organised crime within Greater Manchester.”
Though GMP seized only £400 worth of mephedrone in the ten months MM looked at, their recovery of £3.8million worth of the substance on May 15 shows this drug is also an increasing priority.
Officers with the North West Regional Organised Regional Crime Unit (Titan) raided 11 addresses and arrested 12 people in what was the largest UK operation of its kind.
The party drug – also known as meow meow or m-kat – was legal to buy but not to consume as a drug until 2010, but it is now illegal to supply, or to be in possession of mephedrone.
Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd commended the work GMP are doing to tackle Manchester’s drug problem but stressed they need as much help as possible.
“Drugs are one of the major drivers of crime and a blight on our communities and I welcome the work GMP are doing to tackle this problem and take drugs off our streets,” he said.
“I’ve joined local residents on police operations to see first-hand how the police are keeping up the pressure on organised crime, to make it impossible for criminals to bring misery to our neighbourhoods.
“Overall, tackling drugs isn’t just a job for the police and criminal justice system. We need to get to the root causes of drug use, reducing addiction and supporting rehabilitation.”
DI Earnshaw also stressed the importance of the role communities have to play in the war on drugs and appealed for continued help from the citizens of Manchester.
“We continuously receive the help and support of the communities that we serve who have given us information about drug dealing where they live,” he said.
“This shows that they, like ourselves, are determined to clamp down on such behaviour and make it clear to the dealers that we will simply not stand for their actions.
“We therefore continue to ask that if anyone has concerns about drug dealing where they live, they should call police on 101, or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
Picture courtesy of Valerie Everett, with thanks.