Shropshire Star comment: Drugs are a major concern
Many might think of Shropshire as being a sleepy county, relatively free from crime.
Compared with nearby cities and other parts of the West Midlands conurbation, the county does have low crime rates.
People are also less worried about crime than in other areas, which means they are able to live in relative peace. And yet that rural idyll is being shattered as nefarious types move in to peddle drugs.
In recent months, there has been much talk of county lines – the name given when an organised crime group, or urban gang, from an area such as London, Birmingham and Liverpool, extends a drug-dealing enterprise across county boundaries, often into more rural areas.
It is a particular challenge for the police to deal with this type of criminal behaviour and often vulnerable local people are exploited to distribute the drugs on behalf of the criminal gangs.
West Mercia have been targeting this issue for some time and their efforts are beginning to bear fruit, as evidenced in a number of recent prosecutions. This is excellent news.
The most recent breakthrough came when men from Manchester openly dealt crack cocaine on a local supermarket car park.
So, while local mothers are buying babygrows and pensioners are shopping for milk, young men from north western gangs are dealing drugs near the trolley park.
Such events should shake us out of our complacency and remind us that even in peaceful Shropshire we are not immune from the scourge of drugs.
Drugs are a major concern, bringing many issues for the individuals themselves but also for society more generally including crime and the impact on our health services. We can all do our bit by being alert and passing on any information to police.
It is clear that our communities harbour those whose activities would be of interest to the police. And it is just as obvious that there are those who could tip off officers on anonymous lines to reveal details of illegal activities.
Local officers deserve credit for breaking down one of these county lines bringing crack cocaine to Shropshire. And we wish the police every success in their efforts to tackle this issue.