Residents urged to call drugs hotline if they see suspicious activity

The Community Drugs Enforcement Team was established in November 2013.

The Community Drugs Enforcement Team was established in November 2013.

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Residents in Hartlepool are being urged to call a confidential phone line if they suspect drugs activity in their area.

Cleveland Police is encouraging people to call the number if they spot suspicious activity, such as a steady flow of visitors to a house, or brief encounters at places such as parks, bus stops, telephone boxes or in the street.

Other tell-tale signs could be a strong smell from a house and windows left open constantly, or the sound of fans or hydroponics coming from the property, or windows being blacked out with bin bags.

Acting Inspector Jim Devine, from the Community Drugs Enforcement Team, said: “The effect of drugs in a community can be devastating.

“Areas affected by drugs may suffer from anti-social behaviour, criminal damage and drugs paraphernalia being left lying around.

“It can have a negative effect on house prices in the area and leave those who have lived in that area all of their lives, living in fear.

“Plus, there is always a risk of fire spreading to houses attached to properties where hydroponics and other electrical equipment are used to cultivate cannabis, as the electricity is often extracted illegally and dangerously wired up to street lights. Anyone who suspects drug related activity can contact police in complete confidence.

“You can leave the information anonymously and nobody else needs to know that you have contacted police. All information given to us will be handled with complete discretion.”

The Community Drugs Enforcement Team was established in November 2013, taking four separate district drugs teams into one force-wide drugs enforcement team. Last month, £1.5million worth of cannabis plants, crack cocaine, heroin and amphetamine went up in smoke in a furnace after being seized from criminals across Cleveland.

Anyone with information regarding drugs activity in their area is asked to contact Cleveland Police’s Community Drugs Enforcement Team on 101 or their confidential hotline on 0800 0929 702.