Beds, Herts & Bucks

Bedfordshire cocaine users spend £1m a week, say police

Cocaine Image copyright BBC Sport
Image caption £5m worth of cocaine was seized by Bedfordshire police in 2017

More than £2m a week is being spent on cocaine and cannabis in a single county, a police force said.

The Bedfordshire Police analysis showed £1m is spent on cocaine and more than £1m on cannabis, with the drugs available around the clock.

Officers had compiled the figures using more than 100 partners.

Det Ch Supt Mark Lay said: "The threat has never been so clearly or frequently demonstrated."

"Cash rich drug markets exist not only in our urban towns, but they have also permeated our rural communities."

Image caption Det Ch Supt Mark Lay said the UK drug market is "thriving"

The findings come after nearly 600 suspected members of county lines drugs gangs have been arrested across the UK in the past week.

Mr Lay said: "The threat posed by the supply and use of drugs has never been so clearly or frequently demonstrated.

"Recent high profile incidents of violence directly linked to our local drugs trade are both numerous and incredibly harmful."

Image copyright Bedfordshire Police
Image caption The drugs, weighing 700kg were seized by Bedfordshire police from a warehouse in Sandy in June 2016

He said he does not believe police are losing the war on drugs but questions if enough resources have been allocated to deal with the problem.

The Bedfordshire police analysis showed there are about 34,000 drug users in the county, making up 9% of all 16 and 59 years.

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