Retford: Drugs operation is hailed a success

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A drugs operation which saw customers at a Retford bar having their hands swabbed has been hailed a success.

Officers , working alongside staff at Broadstones public house in the Market Square, used Morpho trace detection machines to swab the hands of customers prior to entering the venue on Saturday 14th December.

The machine, provided by Bassetlaw Council’s community safety team, is programmed to detect and identify microscopic amounts of several types of drug.

PC Steve Meredith, town centre beat manager, said “The operation was a great success and something we’ll look to do again in the near future. As part of the premises’ anti-drugs policy, they made it a condition of entry that anyone wanting to enter the venue, had to be swabbed.”

“Using the machine we swabbed people’s hands and clothes to see if they had been in contact with drugs. We checked 160 people throughout the night and 26 came back with positive readings. This figure initially sounds quite high, however the machine is designed to pick up minute traces and therefore it will show up if someone has had contact which could be from everyday items such as money. This does reflect very low levels though so it isn’t something people should worry about.”

“We will continue to tackle drugs in the town through enforcement, and this is only one of a number of techniques we can use to determine if someone is in possession of illegal substances. We want people to be able to come into the town for a good night and be able to feel safe. Using the powers available to us and working in conjunction with the Retford Pubwatch scheme, anyone involved in criminal activity will be targeted. The feedback from the staff and members of the public involved was really positive and it’s definitely something we’ll do again”

Out of the positive tests, six people were searched due to a high reading and although no arrests were made, two people were given direction to leave the town centre. Four people refused to be swabbed and were denied access into the pub.

Gerald Connor, community safety coordinator at Bassetlaw Council, said: “By working in partnership with the police and licensed premises, we are increasing the safety of patrons and reducing antisocial and criminal behaviour. This can play a key role in helping improve the entertainment offer in our local towns.”

“Our message to the small minority of people who want to spoil things for others is that we are going to make life difficult for you. So take some responsibility for your actions or face the consequences.”