Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Police: 'We Are Clearing Streets of Spice Dealers'

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Police: 'We Are Clearing Streets of Spice Dealers'

Article excerpt

POLICE say they are closing the net on Spice dealers peddling misery in Manchester city centre with a string of arrests in recent weeks.

Operation Gigg was launched in October but has already had a "positive impact", said Chief Inspector Cherie Buttle.

"It's been really effective - we're seeing a difference," she added.

So far there have been 37 arrests and there are nine separate 'active' investigations currently ongoing.

Last month, 47-year-old Raymond McGinty, of no fixed abode, was caught with an ounce of Spice worth £50 and £44 in change.

He was convicted of possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply and jailed for 28 months.

And in October, a man was caught on the Pagoda in Chinatown with 94 bags of Spice worth £500.

Chief Inspector Buttle said Spice "has to be a priority" for Greater Manchester Police because it is linked to so many other problems in the city centre - from rough sleeping and begging to anti-social behaviour and even serious violence.

"Clearly with the headlines we've seen about Manchester, the images of 'zombies' - [Spice] has to be a priority for us," she added. "What we're trying to do is tackle people bringing it into the city - the dealers - and also get support to those people suffering the effects in terms of signposting them to the right help.

"I've had feedback from people saying 'I don't know what you're doing but it's better.'" ."

What " It comes after the M.E.N. reported on complaints from businesses in Chinatown that the area was becoming a 'no-go zone' plagued by drug dealing and anti-social behaviour.

you Write to: M.E.N, Mitchell House, Hollinwood Oldham, Or email: @men-news.

During a police briefing earlier this summer, it emerged there was an ongoing 'turf war' between rival drugs gangs with worrying results.

A dozen empty bottles of bleach were found under a canal bridge and police feared criminals intended to decant them into smaller bottles to use as a deadly weapon. …

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