Pubdate: Thu, 19 Sep 2002
Source: Galloway News (Scotland)
Contact:  2002 Galloway News
Author: Bob Geddes
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Heroin)


Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum Councillor Says

Residents of Kirkcudbright have been told to wake up to the escalating 
drugs problem facing them.

A stark picture of a growing drugs culture affecting all walks of life has 
been painted by a community councillor and backed up by her fellow members.

Councillors were also told by community police officer Terry Butcher that 
it was time for the public to start sticking their heads above the parapet 
and support the police to rid the town of the growing menace.

He said that Kirkcudbright did have a major drugs problem compared with 
other towns such as Castle Douglas and Dalbeattie although they also had 
their problems.

Heroin, he said, was available in all three towns but cannabis was the main 
one in all three.

Councillor Sylvia Stitt asked members at their meeting on Wednesday: "When 
are the sane people going to claim back Kirkcudbright? It seems the 
lunatics have taken over the asylum. Does no-one in authority realise we 
have a major drug problem? It's not just a few soft drugs; it's major hard 

"How many more lives are going to be lost before the police, local 
councillors and them that say there's no drug problem in Kirkcudbright, 
wake up and look at the real world?"

Councillor Stitt said they could market the town as an arts town, a nice 
safe place to stay, but it would take a great artist to paint over the 
cracks that were beginning to blot the landscape.

The problem, she said, was so big now no one could hide it. "They don't 
even try for you can see them sitting on doorsteps, pubs, the park, even 
crossing the street. They don't bother waiting for the traffic to stop, 
they're so high they just step out. It's the drivers who have to watch they 
don't get hit," she said and added: " How can you tell, sometimes you can't 
and sometimes they just sit, mouths falling slackly open, eyes rolling back 
in their heads. Real life passes them by.

The councillor said they were told by the police that there was nothing 
they could do as they were not causing a disturbance or breaking the law.

"It's the non-user who has to go around or curtail their everyday lives.

"There are so many young lads on fishing boats doing drugs, they're not 
afraid of force nine gales, they're more afraid of not getting their next 
fix," she warned.

Under age drinking and shouting abusive threatening language to each other 
or anyone that was in the vicinity was another social problem that was 
generally accepted. "Drink is a drug but sometimes a good hangover puts 
them off for a while. Maybe if the police lifted them, took them back to 
the station and phoned the parents to come and get them, the parents, 
instead of laughing and joking about it, might actually tell them it's 
wrong and that 18 was the legal age to drink, not 13, 14, 15, 16 or 17."

She went on: " Don't get me wrong, we did it, but not as young as they seem 
to today."

Turning to CCTV she asked why should the few privileged get it and what 
good was it going to do for the people of Millflats, Mersecroft and 
outlying areas of the town. "It won't stop our windows being smashed or 
things being stolen. I would prefer the police station to be manned 24 
hours a day, a police presence on foot as well as in cars at the weekend 
and a more visual police presence, rather than turning up when the damage 
had been done.

"Wake up Kirkcudbright. It may be a wee bit dramatic but if we don't start 
saying 'no' to some of the things we know go on in the town, but turn a 
blind eye to, it could happen."

Council convener Douglas Swan said that in some cases the courts did not 
seem to be backing up the police and the main reason the fishing boat crews 
were being targeted was because these were the people that had the money.

Constable Butcher appealed for councillors and members of the public to let 
police know what was going on and said they had an intelligence system 
which enabled them to target dealers and users through drugs squad. "But we 
have to have information which can be put in and trained officers can deal 
with it.

"I would encourage people to keep 'phoning in information for although it 
might not seem important it could play a vital part in an inquiry. If you 
report it then we can do something about it.
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MAP posted-by: Terry Liittschwager