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Judge sounds warning to drugs offenders

Thursday, 15 June 2017

A JUDGE has issued a warning to offenders that they will be dealt with 'rigorously' by the courts for drugs offences.

District judge, Nigel Broderick - who is the resident magistrate at Strabane Magistrates Court - sounded the warning during a sitting of the court last Thursday.

He spoke out after dealing with two separate cases involving possession of illicit drugs including cocaine, cannabis and ecstasy.

In issuing the warning, the judge referred to a recent Coroner's Court case involving a death by use of drugs.

"Before I came into court, I was reading a report in the media of a case before the Coroner's Court recently dealing with a young person who died as a result of drugs misuse," he said.

He pointed to the two cases of illegal drugs use before his own court, adding: "I hope it's not a sign that it is becoming a problem in this particular area because if it is, then it will be dealt with rigorously by the courts."

He further continued: "It's only a matter of time before lengthier custodial sentences are handed down."

According to the most recent police figures, there were 407 drug seizures across the Derry City and Strabane Policing District last year and 282 arrests.

 

The majority of those seizure incidents related to cannabis (307), cocaine (54), Benzodiazepines (35) and ecstasy (17).

PSNI District Commander, Alan Hutton, said his officers were committed to disrupting the sale and supply of illegal drugs.

"Drugs in our community remain a focus for PSNI in Derry City and Strabane and we are actively targeting those involved in the supply of same. We are continually encouraging our officers to conduct proactive activity in order to address this issue and have observed some successes of late," he said.

"These successes are mainly as a result of the use of stop and search powers when appropriate, premises searches by virtue of a warrant or drug finds from individuals who have been brought into custody for other unrelated offences.

"(The) District Support Team conduct the more complex drug operations however Neighbourhood Police and Local Policing Teams make a positive contribution by taking forward the daily intelligence that is received. This intelligence is researched by a team and if appropriate positive action is then taken."

The police chief has urged people within local communities with drug-related information to bring it forward to police.

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