A JUDGE’S concern about the ‘commonplace’ use of Class A drugs in rural areas has been echoed by community leaders.
Sentencing a hardworking 25-year-old Corwen man, with no previous convictions, to 21 months in prison for possessing cocaine with intent to supply, Judge Niclas Parry said that, for some in rural areas in North Wales, taking Class A drugs has become the social norm.
Llangollen councillor Stuart Davies said drug use in smaller areas has become an epidemic.
He said: “When I was mayor in 1999 we had police meetings to give us reports and drugs was not on the radar then.
“But it’s now an epidemic, when I was the chairman of licensing last year we visited pubs and I was surprised at the checks carried out for drug use in licensed places.
“I see drug use by young people a lot, I’ve seen it in the town even during the day. It’s almost as if users are going from cannabis to cocaine.
“It fills me with horror that people are now using the hard stuff.”
The recent court case said the 25-year-old man was linked to 11.5 grammes of cocaine which was found stashed in an area of woodland off the A5 in the Corwen area.
Corwen County Councillor Huw Jones said: “There is a problem throughout the UK with drugs and it has been creeping into the rural areas from the cities more and more. Through social media hard drugs seem to be more accessable which is the worrying thing about it and drugs seem to be the new alcohol.
“This has not happened over night it is creeped in bit by bit.”
Judge Parry said: “There is a concern in the rural communities of North Wales that class A drugs are far too easily available.
“Those who make them available must be sentenced in a way that will deter others.”
Llandrillo Councillor Cefyn Williams also said it is not unusual for drug use in smaller communities now.
He added: “Over the years one does hear of rumours and you can go into the pub and see behaviour and know the person has not had too much beer but of course know nothing concrete.
“There is a certain amount of drug use in the smallest of areas but this has maintained at worst rather than increased, the police are keeping an eye on rural areas more now.”