Drug hotline hailed a success

POLICE say a dedicated hotline to tackle drug crime has proved key to catching dealers.

And Hartlepool Police’s drugs unit are encouraging more people with information or suspicions to get in touch a year after the launch of the 24-hour confidential telephone service.

The line was created to encourage people to speak to officers in knowledge that everything said would be acted on without residents’ identities being put in jeopardy.

A message facility was also set up for people to leave information overnight and for an officer to ring them back if requested.

In the past year, the unit has received an estimated five to 10 calls a week and that intelligence gathered has helped them snare those pedalling the illegal substances.

Detective Sergeant Daryll Tomlinson, from the unit, said: “The helpline has assisted us greatly with gathering intelligence and this is vital in our aim of detecting, deterring and disrupting the supply of drugs in the town.

“I’d encourage local residents to keep contacting us and to keep helping our fight against the drugs that blight communities across Hartlepool.”

Det Sgt Tomlinson also wished to stress that it would be more helpful if people could leave a contact number for officers to ring if they have any questions, although people can still remain anonymous.

Det Sgt Tomlinson added: “If information is received and positive action is not seen to be taken immediately, this is because a lot of our work is covert and requires research and development before we can act.

“I would like to urge people to have patience, we will do what we can to act on the information that has been given us and to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the confidential hotline on (01642) 302181.