Drug dealing zone
Locals were so fed-up with drug dealing in their neighbourhood that they created ‘drug dealers only’ zones to ‘shame’ police into taking action. An anonymous group of street artists installed the space in east London, on Sunday to highlight the issues of ’24/7 drug dealing’ in the in the E2 postcode area, near Shoreditch, known for selling the cheapest heroin in Europe.
The group, who are calling themselves the Columbia Road Cartel, also installed six signs on lampposts, including a ‘drug dealers only’ traffic indication as part of their anti-drug campaign.
The fake street signs says ‘Crack pick up point’, ‘give way to oncoming drug deals’, ‘needle free zone’ and parking bays labelled ‘drug dealers only.’
Local resident Penny Creed tweeted the images, saying: ‘Local street artists trying to embarrass the @metpoliceuk and @TowerHamletsNow into doing something about the brazen drug dealing in my neighbourhood #columbiaroad #asb’.
Resident Jonathan Moberly said: ‘One corner of our street is used as a drug collection point 24 hours a day. ‘Heroin and crack addicts gather in small groups waiting for deliveries which arrive by speeding car.
‘It is barely possible to avoid walking around or through these gatherings when leaving or returning home.
‘Six months ago my stepson Jake was victim of a hit-and-run by one of the dealers. ‘His ankle was badly smashed and he is still unable to return to work.
The authorities seem to be powerless or uninterested to act.’ Another resident said: ‘I have to change the way I walk home from work as there are so many picking up drugs at 7.30pm.
‘Where I work they sleep outside every night in Florida Street, we have to have the needles picked up each day.’
The Weavers Community Action Group, which commissioned the signs, claims to have around 70 members in the area.
A Tower Hamlets spokesperson said: ‘Like the rest of London, Tower Hamlets suffers from some blatant drug dealing at times.
We understand the frustration of these residents, which is why the council has invested £3 million in additional police officers to make up some of the shortfall in government cuts to the police.
‘We are also working with the police on Operation Continuum, which targets drug dealers and offers support to those affected by it. ‘So far, 160 people have been arrested as the operation works its way around the borough.’
A spokesperson for Met Police told Metro.co.uk: ‘We have been made aware of a Guerilla art campaign which has appeared in and around Columbia Road, Tower Hamlets, against drug-dealing in the area. ‘Officers in Tower Hamlets are working hard to tackle drugs offences to make the streets hostile territory for criminals.
Local officers are fully engaged with partners and have a rolling programme of enforcement activities that target those identified as selling drugs.
The Tower Hamlets partnership task force routinely perform anti-drug use/supply patrols and respond to intelligence received.
‘Local officers respond and will patrol areas identified through intelligence that suggests illegal drug use or supply activity and will also regularly undertake the execution of search warrants using drug related legislation that seeks to place offenders before the courts.
‘Officers are working closely with the local council to make best use of CCTV and use Anti-Social Behaviour legislation to assist Registered Social Landlords to take positive action against those found to be selling drugs or allowing premises to be used.
‘The local police with support from the local authority are currently increasing its effective partnership task force to twenty Constables.
A key focus for these officers will be to tackle drug related issues, complaints and associated problems within the Tower Hamlets area.
‘The Met has a wide range of policing tactics and we will pursue offenders who we suspect of dealing drugs and bringing misery to the communities they have a presence in.’
If the public see any suspicious activity or have any information about who is committing these crimes, please call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.