Source: Worthing Herald, UK

Pub Date: 15 May 2003

Subj: Police Pledge Cannabis Crackdown

Web site: http://www.worthingtoday.co.uk

Ref: http://www.ccguide.org.uk/cannabiscafes.php



POLICE will go "all out" to shut Worthing's cannabis cafés as part of a new zero tolerance approach

District commander, chief inspector Russ Whitfield (pictured), said criminals were making thousands of pounds a day out of the cafés in Victoria Road and Brougham Road and anyone entering or leaving would be searched and arrested if found to be in possession of illegal drugs.

He said: "My view is that these cafés are now devoid of any political campaign and are highly organised criminal enterprises.
"We have tried to police this sympathetically by recognising the individuals' views but the organisers and users of the cafés have abused this.
"We are now working all out to shut these premises down."

Officers, supported by specialist drugs dogs, will patrol outside the two sites as part of Operation Harrow, a major investigation in the supply of illegal drugs in Worthing.

Chief inspector Whitfield said: "This is not about the pros and cons for the legalisation of cannabis. What we have here in Worthing has progressed into organised crime with criminals making a huge amount of money out of an illegal activity.
"I am seeking the support of the council and other partners because Worthing needs to appreciate this is not just a police problem."

He said officers had counted 200 callers to both cafés during one day.

Detective inspector Nigel Brown is leading the investigation. He said: "The operation should be taken as an indication of our determination to thoroughly investigate the illegal supply of drugs in Worthing.

"Not only are people who are buying and selling cannabis breaking the law but the café is having a detrimental effect on local residents and businesses.
"We want to reassure them that this activity will not be tolerated."


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