Northern Ireland

Children being 'forced to sell drugs' in west Belfast

Children as young as 11 are being targeted by drug dealers in the Colin area of west Belfast, a Sinn Fein councillor has claimed.

Arthur Carson said children are being pressured into selling drugs.

Residents attended a rally in Poleglass on Wednesday night to discuss how the problem and associated issues like suicide should be tackled.

Mr Carson said dealers were "here to sell us death and destruction and we don't want to buy it".

He added: "Drugs has been a big issue for a number of years but in the recent past there have been a significant number of drugs finds in the area that has raised concern.

"There have also been a number of young people who have came to us who are being put under pressure by drug dealers to deal drugs for them."

In a statement, the PSNI said "the issue of the misuse of drugs and the selling of illegal substances is one that police within the Lisburn and Dunmurry area take very seriously."

"Anyone who is found with them will have them confiscated," it said.

The police said they are "working hard to take anything that could pose a risk to young people off the streets and are working on an action plan with local people".