Public heroin use part of 'massive Ripley anti-social behaviour increase'

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Drug users are injecting heroin in "broad daylight" as part of a growing anti-social behaviour problem in Ripley.

And one town councillor says he thinks the problem is down to people being found homes there by housing authorities.

In response to the growing public concern over rising substance abuse, Ripley Town Council has called a special public meeting in the town hall next week.

The behaviour - mainly drug abuse - is most prevalent in the town centre and the Greenway and mainly involves alcohol, heroin or Black Mamba abuse.

Councillor for Ripley's Butterley Ward Steve Freeborn said: “The increase in anti-social behaviour is massive. Many people have commented to many councillors and others about what they’ve seen on the streets.

“We have a little bit of black mamba use here, but it’s primarily heroin and alcohol abuse really. People have seen users in zombie-like states that might be black mamba or spice, but I can’t say for certain.

“There were only a couple of instances where people were accosted so the threat to residents is not severe, but people are getting increasingly concerned about their safety.”

The prevalence of the drug abuse was striking to Mr Freeborn: “My wife was walking the dog and disposing of its leavings when she saw two people preparing to inject drugs sitting on a bin in broad daylight.

“They didn’t even care that someone was coming up to the bin to use it, they just carried on. That is how blatant this is.”

Mr Freeborn said he believed one cause of the increase in anti-social behaviour was housing authorities "moving people into Ripley".

He said: "A lot of these people, though of course not all of them, are only interested in getting drunk or doing drugs.”

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The meeting will commence at 7.00pm on September 19, in Ripley Town Hall, and will be open to all residents. Police, youth and social services have all had their attendance requested to help push what is hoped will be a multi-agency response.

Mr Freeborn added: “We’re holding this meeting to give people the opportunity to come and vent their frustrations and get their voice heard.

“I don’t believe in locking people up and throwing away the key. We need to help these people rediscover the joy of living.”

Derbyshire’s inspector for Amber Valley Dave Parker said: “We recognise that drug taking and street drinking are issues affecting Ripley town centre and it is my aim to work with local agencies and the community to tackle this.

“Local residents have taken to social media to discuss their concerns and these have been picked up on via the Safer Neighbourhood team.

“My officers will be having an enhanced presence in and around the town centre, including the Greenway, by increasing patrols and engaging with the local community.

"I would urge anyone who sees an officer to talk to them and discuss any concerns that you may have.

"We will also be working with licensed premises in the area to make them aware of local issues.”