South East Wales

Butetown drugs problem 'getting out of hand', activists say

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Media captionNeedles are being discarded in play areas and playing fields

Drug abuse is "getting out of hand" in Butetown, Cardiff with discarded needles putting "everyone in danger", activists have said.

Heroin and cannabis are openly sold and taken in the area's children's parks and playing fields, according to residents.

They said South Wales Police need to do more to tackle the drug dealers.

Officers said they have seized £11,000 worth of crack cocaine and heroin in the city the last two weeks.

AFC Butetown coach Christian Wagstaff patrols Canal Park, home to his team as well as Tiger Bay FC, picking up discarded drugs paraphernalia.

He is concerned one of his players will be injured by a discarded needle.

"It's only a matter of time," he said.

"If you get a needle stick injury you can get HIV and hepatitis and obviously then you are affected for life."

Image caption There are concerns football players could be injured by discarded needles

"We've got the biggest police station in the area - and the biggest drug problem. They are obviously not doing anything about it."

Butetown community activist Saeed Noor Ebrahim said nearby hostels "might be an element" of the problem.

But, he added: "It's just getting out of hand. The residents do worry for their children. Everybody's in danger of the needles.

"We've had the council come and clean up a number of times. But it's happening constantly."

South Wales Police admitted there were "challenges for this community" because needle vendors located nearby attract drug users from different parts of the city.

Image caption Saeed Noor Ebrahim said nearby hostels could be a part of the problem

Insp Ian Randel said: "Neighbourhood officers regularly scour these areas for drug litter and they notify the local authority which is responsible for cleaning them up.

"Sharing information about problem areas is helping to inform patrols by both environment services and police to keep areas clean and deter drug use."

Insp Randel added there is "zero tolerance" of drug dealing in Cardiff and that offenders are dealt with "swiftly and robustly,"

"Only last week in Grangetown we arrested three men in their 20s on suspicion of possessing drugs with intent to supply," he said.

"One man - with links to Butetown - was remanded and is appearing in Cardiff Crown Court at the end of the month.

"It is vital that individual communities make their stand against drugs and report their suspicions to the police."

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