'Appalling' drugs problem 'making a laughing stock' of Market Drayton

“Drug barons” are “making a laughing stock” of police, a councillor said in an impassioned appeal for more officers in his town.

Councillor Roger Smith said the drugs problem in Market Drayton has become 'appalling'
Councillor Roger Smith said the drugs problem in Market Drayton has become 'appalling'

Town councillor Roger Smith was speaking at a full council meeting, responding to mayor Roy Aldcroft’s update about issues in Market Drayton including police visibility.

The mayor said he had been assured by West Mercia Police that the town would soon have a new officer on the beat.

Councillor Smith said he had recently seen “drug barons” dealing openly and being abusive to members of the public.

Councillor Aldcroft said at the meeting that he and the town clerk had recently met with the area’s West Mercia Police inspector to discuss problems in the town, and would continue to meet up at three-month intervals.

In response, Councillor Smith said: “I’m very concerned to hear that you’re saying it will be another three months before we have a meeting.

“This drugs situation in Market Drayton is absolutely appalling.

"I pulled up on Shrewsbury Road to go into the shop. There were six drug barons there. They were absolutely out of their tree, they were being very abusive...


"If we’re going to have to wait three months before we get anything done about this, I’m awfully sorry, but I don’t think that is the right way to go.”

Town clerk Julie Jones said: “Myself and the mayor did make it clear that the drug problem does seem to be getting worse.

“Although we may not be able to get the inspector back for three months, I would hope that she is working on this. She did assure us that she would. Hopefully when she comes back we can ask her exactly what she’s done.

"We did make it clear that although we want to work in partnership with the police, there are certain things that only the police can do, and we expect them to do it.”

The mayor said: “The idea of a quarterly meeting is that we’re constantly catching up with what’s going on in the town and forward planning. It doesn’t mean that everything stops until we have a meeting.”

Councillor Smith responded: “This doesn’t help the immediate situation. These people are just making a laughing stock of everybody – us, the police, you name it.”

West Mercia Police were approached for comment. Chief Inspector for Shropshire, Mark Reilly, said: "We are aware of drug activity in Market Drayton and have been coordinating specific operations to tackle this.

"Our dedicated county lines team works closely with other forces to proactively target and disrupt the networks that come into our towns.

"While the issue of street level dealing is not exclusive to any particular area of Shropshire, we do appreciate the concerns raised by local councillors on behalf of the community and have discussed these at length with them. We enjoy a positive relationship with the residents of Market Drayton and engage regularly via numerous channels including social media and face-to-face street surgeries.

"Information sharing and partnership working is key, which is why it is so important that people feel confident to report crime to us. They can do this anonymously through Crimestoppers or online via our website for more convenience. I would like to reassure the community that while an immediate police response is not always possible, neighbourhood officers are on patrol in the area day in, day out – and every report we receive is acted upon, so please ensure you do make a report.

"We work closely with the local authorities and relevant organisations to not only take enforcement action but to also engage and educate those involved in drug activity. Our local inspectors are committed to serving their community and will always make time to discuss any concerns local councillors might have on any issues regarding policing."

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