Pubdate: Mon, 31 Dec 2007
Source: Argus, The (UK)
Copyright: 2007 Newsquest Media Group
Author: Rachel Pegg
Bookmark: (Drug Dogs)
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


Police Have Warned Of A Highprofile Crackdown On Drugs In The Coming Months.

Eastbourne police have launched an operation using a  sniffer dog to 
identify rail passengers arriving in the  town carrying illegal substances.

Operation Wattle, supported by British Transport  Police, will 
continue on various dates throughout 2008.

The sting is backed up by targeted searches outside  nightclubs using 
a dog and a drug testing machine.

Chief Inspector Dick Coates, divisional commander for  Eastbourne, 
said the measures were designed to let  people know drugs were not 
welcome in the area.

He said: "It gives people that sense of security and  gives out the 
message that we won't tolerate people  using and dealing drugs within 
Eastbourne or coming  into Eastbourne with drugs."

Eight people were searched and three people were found  to have small 
amounts of cannabis at a sting at  Eastbourne railway station on 
Friday, December 14. They  were issued with on-the-spot warnings.

The operation, from 6pm to 10pm, involved officers from  Sussex 
Police and British Transport Police, special  constables, 
officers-in-training, the force licensing  officer and a specialist 
dog handler.

People passing through the ticket barrier were  inspected by the 
drugs dog, which is trained to  identify people who might recently 
have been in  possession of drugs then point them out to its handler.

Chief Insp Coates said the policing was designed to  keep Eastbourne 
safe at night.

He said: "I think there could be a problem with drugs  if we don't 
keep on top of it. If they think Eastbourne  is a soft area, people 
could come to deal drugs and use  the rail network.

"We have evidence that people do use the rail network  to transport drugs.

"We are more concerned about the more hard drugs -  cocaine, heroin 
and so on - but actually cannabis  affects young people and can make 
people do strange  things and be violent. They're all illegal."

Sergeant Lee Floyd, officer in charge of the operation,  said: "The 
use of the passive drugs dog provided us  with an excellent 
opportunity to identify people  entering Eastbourne with drugs on them.

"The operation was conducted on a Friday night as drugs  still remain 
a problem linked with Eastbourne's  night-time economy. Activity 
similar to this will be  conducted on numerous occasions in the future."

When police used an ION track machine at Kings  nightclub in Langney 
Road, Eastbourne, on Friday,  December 7, three people were arrested 
for drugs  offences. A fourth was arrested for a public order  offence.

The machine highlights traces of drugs on people's hands.

Twelve people were searched but no drugs were found on  them and they 
were released without charge.
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