NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Drug scanner checks Aberdeen pub-goers' hands

A device to detect traces of drugs on people's hands has been used on pub-goers by police in Aberdeen.

Grampian Police officers started using the portable drug detection device, known as the "itemiser", at licensed premises in the city on Friday night.

It allows police officers or door staff to check whether illegal drugs are present by testing a person's hand.

Businesses in Sheddocksley, Northfield and Bridge of Don volunteered to take part in the scheme.

It is part of Operation Maple, the force's crackdown on drugs, violence and anti-social behaviour.

The machine can detect a range of illegal substances including cocaine, cannabis, heroin and ecstasy.

'Realistic approach'

Insp Moray Watt said: "Police officers, working closely with door staff at the premises, will select people for checking as a condition of entry.

"Those who test positive will be refused entry by door staff and potentially searched by police officers for any drugs they have on their person."

He commended the owners of the pubs taking part in the operation for "taking such a responsible and realistic approach that acknowledges the possibility that controlled drugs may enter their premises".

Derek Reilly, who runs the Buckie Farm and is chairman of Bridge of Don Pubwatch, said: "We want our businesses to thrive, but we don't want trouble in our pubs and we don't want drugs either.

"Our hope is, whether traces of drugs are found or not, that our pubs won't be seen as a soft touch and that the anti-drugs message spreads across the community."

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