Monday, October 1, 2007

Dealers exposed by mobile phone

Residents in West Oxford are fighting back against drug dealers by taking mobile phone pictures of them doing deals - to give the photos to the police.
Police admit that drug use has increased dramatically in the Botley Road and Osney area in the past few months - following crackdowns in other parts of the city.
Now residents are trying to drive the dealers out of West Oxford - by gathering evidence of deals taking place close to family homes.
Colin Cook, Labour city councillor for Jericho and Osney, said: "Some residents have started to take mobile phone pictures of dealers.
"Deals are taking place in the Oatlands recreation ground which are clearly visible from people's homes.
"Mobile phone cameras are quite hi-tech these days, and residents can take pictures of dealers from their windows.

"People need to be discreet about it because the key thing is that they shouldn't put themselves at risk."
Last month, officers made three arrests after discovering a hoard of suspected class A drugs in a house on Botley Road.
Two users in the past fortnight have suffered drugs overdoses while in Botley Park.
Staff at West Oxford Community Centre in Botley Road say they find about five needles used to inject heroin discarded every morning.

Caretaker Shah-Nawaz Khan, 17, said: "I find used needles stuck in the ground and in the drain. We find them every morning. It is really bad round here and under Botley Bridge.
"A lot of people come and complain when they find a needle, and say they don't want their children playing here."
Steve Stuart, the owner of Warlands cycle shop on Botley Road, called for a bigger police presence in the area to tackle the dealers and added: "Some residents are taking mobile phone pictures of dealers. It's quite a drastic step to take, but it shows how desperate people are to get rid of the dealers.
"People need to make sure they take these pictures covertly because you don't want to be assaulted by a drug dealer or an addict who is too far gone to give a damn about the consequences."
Kate Smith, a spokesman for Oxford Police, said residents should report suspicious drugs activity to the police but "not put themselves at risk".

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