Wales

No quick solutions to drug problem, ex police chief says

Clive Wolfendale Image copyright CAIS
Image caption Clive Wolfendale: 'No easy or quick solutions'

Communities are being blighted by "misery and harm" caused by drug dealers despite a major sting in north Wales, says a former police chief.

Clive Wolfendale, who now leads a drugs charity, was speaking after a gang boss was jailed for 10 years last Friday.

Aled Gray, 35, was the last among 27 people sentenced after North Wales Police targeted two gangs working in a multi-million pound "consortium".

CPS Wales said the operation was a "big step" forward but the fight continued.

Mr Wolfendale, chief executive of CAIS Drug and Alcohol Counselling, said there were no "easy or quick solutions".

"It is imperative that those who trade in the misery of drug addiction are brought to justice, with the full force of the law," he said.

"They should be made to pay by all means possible. However, individuals and communities in north Wales continue to be blighted."

Image copyright Gavin Rodda
Image caption A bus driver published "stark" photographs of drug use at Wrexham bus station on social media

Mr Wolfendale, former deputy chief constable for North Wales Police, said enforcement "works best" alongside resourced treatment and education programmes focussed on turning vulnerable people away from substance misuse.

Drug-dealer Gray, of Holyhead admitted conspiring to supply drugs at Mold Crown Court on Friday. The court was told he used the two pubs he owned in the town - the Boston Arms and the Dublin Packet - as a headquarters for the crime group.

Police targeted two crime groups from Holyhead and Llandudno, who worked together in known transactions estimated to be worth about £2.7m.

They supplied cocaine, heroin and cannabis across Denbighshire, Conwy and Anglesey. The other defendants were sentenced in December.

Image caption CPS Wales boss Iwan Jenkins pledged to continue to work with police to tackle drugs

Iwan Jenkins, head of complex case unit for CPS Wales, said: "Obviously this case alone won't rid the whole area of the drug-problem that exists... but it is a big step in the right direction.

"And we will be at the forefront of that fight, whilst it continues, with North Wales Police prosecuting those cases."

Police have appealed for public help in tackling serious serious and organised crime.

Det Insp Lee Boycott, who led Operation Zeus, said: "Drugs cause misery in our society, corruption in the community and will always be a priority to the police."

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