CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Bum wrap: Police issue E. coli warning over Camden Town drug market

'Drug dealers store their stash in all sorts of places. Some in their mouths, some in their pants, but most in their...'

11 April, 2019 — By Richard Osley

POLICE trying to disrupt Camden Town’s en­trench­ed drug markets have a new tactic: reminding buyers that cannabis is often transported in a smuggler’s rear end.

Officers, known locally as the “Bong Squad” after a New Journal headline about a crackdown on shops in Camden High Street selling wacky-backy paraphernalia, warned that those who consume drugs bought in the area were putting themselves at risk of an E. coli infection.

The alert came after a unique investigation into the drugs market in Madrid found high levels of faecal matter, a clueto how they may have been moved around to avoid detection by authorities.

Around 88 per cent of samples acquired in the Spanish capital were considered dangerous to use due to the presence of bacteria.

While some cannabis smokers have questioned the amount of time and resources invested in an attempt to break up the sale of drugs, police in Camden say they have the backing of residents fed up with the presence of pushers in the High Street.

Inspector Richard Berns, who is leading the action, said: “Drug dealers store their stash in all sorts of places. Some in their mouths, some in their pants, but most in their… you get the idea. You might be getting a little more than you bargained for if you buy drugs in Camden. E. coli anyone?”

E. coli bacteria attack the gut and can cause diarrhoea and vomiting. Although most strains are relatively harmless, the worst infections can lead to kidney failure.

With the canal towpath open again in Camden Town following development work at Hawley Wharf – the waterside has been a notorious spot for dealing and hiding stashes in the past – police have vowed to introduce more patrols. Officers said they arrested a man with nine bags of cocaine concealed in his underwear last week.

Meanwhile, police in the north-west of the borough have shut down a new attempt to construct a cannabis factory in a flat on the Rowley Way estate.

They raided the property last week and confiscated 99 plants. Nobody was inside the flat at the time but police said an investigation had been opened.

PC Stephen O’Hara said in an update for residents: “Although the suspects had clearly only just begun the process, we still recovered 99 cannabis plants from the one incubation tent they had already managed to set up.”

He added: “These plants, along with all the electrical equipment, were removed from the address and the property made secure so they could no longer gain entry.”

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