Wednesday, July 30, 2003

GP admits stealing drugs

A doctor who worked at a medical practice which treats members of the Royal Family has admitted a series of drugs offences.

GP Dr Richard Archer, 37, of Heacham, Norfolk, pleaded guilty to stealing morphine, pethidine and diamorphine when he appeared before magistrates in King's Lynn, Norfolk, on Wednesday.

Archer, who also admitted possessing drugs illegally and obtaining property by deception, was a partner of the Heacham group of surgeries, which cover the Queen's nearby Sandringham Estate.

He resigned from the practice earlier this year.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Gang jailed over £6m drugs haul

Gang members who hid £6m of drugs in a lorry under 19 tonnes of bananas have been jailed for a total of 70 years.

The consignment was seized in one of Scotland's biggest drugs hauls.

It was found hidden beneath a false floor in a trailer driven by Alexander Thom as he drove south of Glasgow.

Ringleader Frank Smith, of Allerton Road, Allerton, Liverpool, was jailed for 25 years after being convicted of two charges of conspiring to supply heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and amphetamines between June 2001 and 21 October 2002.

His right hand man, Anthony O'Toole, 39, of Lapwing Close, West Derby, Liverpool, was jailed for 19 years and 41-year-old Thom, of Cambus Michael Farm, Guild Town, Perth, for 14 years.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Drugs project marks 20 years

A south Wales drugs initiative that started with a donated telephone in the back office of a community centre is marking its 20th anniversary.
Swansea Drugs Project (SAND) has grown from humble beginnings into one of the country's busiest and most respected schemes.

On Tuesday workers will spend another day on the streets, providing information, advice and fact sheets from a mobile stand based on Oxford Street.

Project deputy director Gill Burton said those who helped establish SAND all those years ago could not have imagined the scale of the drug problem in Swansea and across Wales today.

Wales 'at risk' from customs cuts

Job cuts in the customs service will leave Wales at greater risk from drug smugglers and terrorists, it is claimed.

The dangers of illegal meat imports were also highlighted at the Royal Welsh Show by the Farmers' Union of Wales and the union representing customs officers.

At the show, at Llanelwedd, near Builth Wells, he joined FUW president Gareth Vaughan and Adam Mathews, of the Bushmeat Campaign, to stress the dangers of illegal meat imports as well as drugs.

"Drug gangs will simply use Wales as a back door through which to smuggle drugs," he said. "In addition, there are terrorist threats from links with Ireland."

Cannabis courier jailed

A drug courier who tried to bring cannabis resin with an estimated street value of £800,000 into Scotland has been jailed for three years.
Philip Leitch, a first offender, claimed huge debts tempted him to agree to transport the consignment from London.

But drug squad detectives had been tipped off and stopped Leitch in a hire car at a filling station in Stonehouse, Ayrshire.

Leitch, 27, of Martin Avenue, Irvine, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of the drug on 16 August last year.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Move towards work drug testing

Four out of five employers would be prepared to drug-test their employees if they thought productivity was at stake, a survey found.
The research for the Independent Inquiry into Drug Testing at Work found that very few firms at present test their workers for banned substances.

However, the survey found there was pressure on firms to carry out testing.

The inquiry was set up to work out if there was a need for such testing and to offer models for the best way to go about it.

Ruth Evans, chairwoman of the inquiry, said: "There is growing pressure on employers to carry out workplace drugs testing but little evidence or guidance to help them decide if, when and how they should do it.

"Our inquiry will examine the legal, ethical and economic implications, and recommend a transparent framework for employers considering drug testing at work.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Five charged in £1m cocaine haul

Three people have been charged with drug offences after the police seized almost £1m worth of cocaine in a raid.

Five people were initially arrested - two men and two women from the Newport and Risca area and a man from Essex - during an operation involving 28 officers from Gwent Police's organised crime unit.

The people were arrested on Wednesday and three of them were remanded in custody after being charged with conspiracy to supply Class A drugs at Newport magistrates court on Thursday.

They are William Avery, 48, of Wharf Road, Harold Evans, 46, of Tone Close and Valerie Shepherd, 52, of Moorland Park, all of Newport.

Police seized £900,000 of cocaine and cannabis resin.

The three are due to appear before Newport Crown Court on 18 July.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Girl leads needle clean-up campaign

A schoolgirl from Sutton in Ashfield is helping to drive home a serious message about drugs.

Becky Carter, 10, is unable to play in her local park because so many used needles are dumped there.

She has won a competition to design a poster which will now be displayed across the county telling addicts to "Don't drop it, swap it".

Becky says she has been personally affected by the issue.

Information leaflets

She said: "I don't like to play in the park because lots of my friends say they have found needles there.

"Now we have to play in the street where accidents can happen."

Nicola North of the Nottingham Drug Action Team, said: "The children play in areas where there are a lot of open spaces and needles have been found.

"Needles have been found in playgrounds and parks and children seem to be the people who find them."