PUBLICANS at Wombwell and across the Dearne Valley have been told by police to kick out drug dealers - or run the threat of losing their licenses.
A recent visit by the ‘drug dog’ to Dearne and Wombwell pubs found drinkers in possession of the ‘clubbing’ drug mephedrone, otherwise known as MKAT or meow-meow.
This same drug was thought to be responsible for three 15-year old Wombwell schoolgirls being taken ill in May last year.
There were no arrests linked to that incident but a drugs offensive was launched after Wombwell was labelled one of the worst local areas for illegal use of MKAT.
In the recent checks, a 19-year old from Hoyland, Barnsley, was arrested after he was found with suspected MKAT and will appear in court on possession charges in the near future.
A 27-year-old man from Wombwell was given a caution after he too was found in possession of suspected MKAT.
The former ‘legal high’ that became illegal from April last year, has been linked to several teen deaths.
Sold in powder, capsule or tablet form, to be swallowed, snorted or injected, MKAT is laboratory produced and is said to have a similar effect to amphetamines, ecstasy or cocaine. But it can cause nausea, palpitations and vomiting.
Under the drug classification rules, anyone found carrying Mephedrone could face up to five years imprisonment, and dealers could be banged up for up to 14 years.
Inspector Alan Simpson said: “Licensees know the risk of allowing their pubs to be used in this way as their license to sell alcohol can be withdrawn, similarly people who take or supply illegal drugs can expect to be arrested.
“We will continue to drop in on licensed premises unannounced in order to reduce the number of drugs in our area. The message is that illegal drugs have no place in Dearne pubs”.
Simone Foster-Jowett of Wombwell and Darfield Pubwatch committee said: “At our meetings licensees claim they welcome visits from the drug dog but as there is only the one for the whole of South Yorkshire it is not very often that it visits. I think it’s good that they drop in, and licensees allow the dog to do its job. I don’t think the drug problem is worse here than elsewhere. Most licensees are only too keen to get druggies out of pubs”.