North East Wales

'Stark' photos of drug use at Wrexham bus station

Man on floor Image copyright Gavin Rodda

A bus driver who works at Wrexham's bus station has published "stark" photographs of drug use there on social media.

Gavin Rodda posted more than 20 images of needles and drug paraphernalia as well as people apparently under the influence of drugs.

He said: "All of the paraphernalia pictured was within reach of a child."

Wrexham council said it had made "significant progress" in tackling the issue.

Talks about the issue took place between Welsh Government ministers and North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones on Monday.

Mr Rodda said in a Facebook post: "Some of these pictures are shocking but it's the reality of every day life for the addicts that use there and the mess that they leave for the public to see.

"I want people to see this and come together to find a solution to the major drug problem that Wrexham currently has. Is it really going to take a death of an addict inside the bus station to make a change? I hope not."

Image copyright Gavin Rodda
Image copyright Gavin Rodda
Image copyright Gavin Rodda

He said some of the needles left in the toilets had blood on or near them and reported concerns from elderly passengers who no longer felt safe at the station.

"For a lot of people, myself included, Wrexham bus station is our workplace and we feel that it is no longer safe to work in, even with the attempts that have been made to control the drug problems," he said.

"Over the past two years especially we've all seen a big increase to activity going on around the bus station.

"Measures have been put in place by the council but to date, they're not working.

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Media captionBus driver Gavin Rodda says there has been a big increase in drug use

"It's not just me; it's work colleagues, drivers from other companies, and also the passengers that use the bus station. We're all sharing the same concerns. It's a big issue at the moment."

Insp Paul Wycherley, in charge of Wrexham's town centre, said he had dealt with a man who seemed to be having difficulties who had just taken a product called mamba.

"It's becoming a challenge now because a lot of these people in Wrexham are actually taking these legal highs and then we're having to deal with them in this sort of condition a lot."

Hugh Jones, lead member for communities and partnership on Wrexham council, said there had been a significant increase in anti-social behaviour in the past two years.

He said: "What the photographs don't demonstrate is the significant progress that we've made with the public space protection order. There's been over 100 tickets issued.

"We're working in partnership with providers such as Cais and the the Wallich to ensure people are directed towards recovery so we're using both the law and the service providers to tackle the problem."

Image copyright Gavin Rodda

He added the council would be increasing security and making some changes to the design of the bus station.

Mr Jones highlighted a specific problem with "legal highs", adding the law did not allow them to tackle the problem as they would want to.

Bus station cafe owner Phil Gallanders said: "We get a lot of comments from customers saying they don't necessarily feel safe.

"A lot of people [are] feeling harassed; we get a lot of people mentioning that they've walked through and they're constantly getting asked for money."

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