Pubdate: Sun, 26 Mar 2000
Source: Eastern Daily Press (UK)
Copyright: 2000 Eastern Counties Newspapers Group Ltd
Contact:  Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE, UK
Author: David Winning


Ten trainee engineers have been suspended from Britain's top
construction college after being caught using drugs, it was revealed
last night.

The students were ordered to leave the National Construction College,
at Bircham Newton, near King's Lynn, after they were caught smoking
cannabis on campus.

Police are investigating the incident which couid lead to the students
- all aged over 16 - being cautioned or having criminal charges
brought against them.

Although the trainees will not be expelled from their civil
engineering course, they face having their sponsorship contracts
cancelled by national companies.

Jerry Lloyd, head of communications at the Construction Industry
Training Board, said the students had been caught using the drugs in a

No evidence existed that the drugs were being sold or that it was
anything other than casual use, he said.

The college was left with no option but to suspend the students in
line with its drugs policy following the incident on February 29.

"We have a drugs policy which youngsters sign before they come here,
saying that they read the policy and that they agree to abide by it,"
Mr Lloyd said.

"That policy is also signed by parents or guardians and we apply that
drugs policy rigorously.

"But having said that, this really is an issue for society as a whole,
not just the CITB.

"In a group of 245 youngsters you always are going to find some who
have been casual drug users even before they come into contact with us
at all."

The students must undergo a drugs test 30 days after the event to
check they are clear of any substance abuse - or be booted out

Mr Lloyd added: "What's more serious from their point of view is that
not only are their parents informed but also their sponsoring companies.

"These people are supposed to be the elite among school leavers and,
as you can imagine, the companies take a pretty dim view of incidents
like this.

"We have to be fairly rigid in our application of drug laws because
there is also a health and safety aspect which is important to us."

Posted By Allan Wilkinson