Pubdate: Wed, 01 May 2002
Source: Herald, The (UK)
Copyright: 2002 The Herald
Author: Graeme Smith


A MAJOR operation to cut off criminals' outlets for stolen goods is being 
launched by Grampian Police to try to break the "steal, sell, buy drugs" 
culture in Aberdeen.

Police say within hours of housebreakings, car thefts or muggings many 
offenders have sold the spoils of their crime at a knockdown price to pay 
for their next fix. Officers' aim is to identify places where stolen goods 
are "fenced" and to disrupt the chain of events to such an extent that it 
will not be easy to quickly sell goods to feed a drug habit.

Research has shown that more than 70% of crime in the area is drug-related 
and the campaign will also focus on how buying "too-good-to-be-true" 
bargains could be leading to the deaths of young men and women.

The "We Don't Buy Crime" campaign was launched yesterday by Paul Lawrie, 
the former Open golf champion, and is sponsored by two local companies, 
Camstruction and Leiths.

On average, a drug user needs UKP 100 a week to fund a habit and in some 
cases as much as UKP 250 a day. Frequently, this is funded by stealing and 
selling on stolen goods or exchanging stolen goods for drugs.

As part of the campaign, 8000 posters will be distributed around Aberdeen. 
They will encourage people to think of the consequences of buying stolen 
goods. They include images of a drug user and ask "Did you help to kill 
this boy?" and a photograph of an elderly housebreaking victim with the 
question "Did you steal from this lady?".

"We need the public's help to reduce drug-driven crime by breaking the 
cycle of 'steal, sell, buy drugs'," said Pat Shearer, assistant chief 

"The reality is that stolen goods will fetch around a third of their 
original value for the thief so an addict will have to steal a lot to meet 
their need for drugs. A crack cocaine addict needs to sell four car stereos 
for one UKP 50 rock of crack which could last them just a few days. By 
cutting off the thief's outlet for selling stolen goods, we hope to reduce 
the number of crimes. "
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