Cost of drugs soars as police clamp down

A BATTLE to rid Ipswich's streets of cannabis appears to be having an effect after it emerged today that a shortage of supply means dope smokers are paying out up to twice as much for their fix.

A BATTLE to rid Ipswich's streets of cannabis appears to be having an effect after it emerged today that a shortage of supply means dope smokers are paying out up to twice as much for their fix.

The Evening Star has learnt that while dealers used to charge around £15 for an eighth of an ounce of the Class C drug, the same weight now can attract a street value in Ipswich of up to £30.

Buying in larger amounts is around 50 per cent more expensive, with the cost of an ounce increasing from £40 to £60.

Experts believe the price hike comes as a direct result of the police's discovery of a trio of cannabis factories in Ipswich which has severely cut supply.

Simon Aalders , from Suffolk's Drug Action Team, said: “Prices have been more expensive since before Christmas. People are paying a lot more for their cannabis now.

“The price has doubled for smaller amounts of cannabis, largely because police have been shutting down cannabis factories.

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“It clearly shows that if you shut down factories and arrest dealers, the drug becomes harder to obtain.

“And hopefully, making it harder to buy goes some way to helping people to make the right decisions.”

One cannabis user told the Star that dealers were adding sand to batches of the drug to increase its weight, and claimed the general quality had lessened in recent weeks.

Last month, The Evening Star reported how Vietnamese nationals Anh Hai Bui, Phuong Thi Vu, Tham Thi Hoang and Thanh Tran were involved in a plot to cultivate cannabis, turning three homes in London Road, Clarkson Street and Norwich Road into drug factories.

The factories could have yielded drugs worth up to £1.5million.

During a two-week trial it emerged that the drugs gang had rigged up floodlighting, installed transformers, irrigation and ventilation systems, and had bypassed the houses' electrical systems to get the necessary heat for cultivation.

Detective chief inspector Louisa Pepper, from Suffolk Police, said a pro-active approach to tackling drug dealing was paying dividends.

She said: “We have focused our attention and resources on the individuals who supply and cultivate drugs because they are feeding an addictive market.

“The community have told us they don't want people dealing drugs on our streets.

“There has been an increase in the number of drug detections because we have been listening to the community.

“We are pleased with the results, but we're not complacent. If the dealers think it's tough now, it is going to get even harder for them.”

Do you think enough is being done to tackle drugs in Ipswich? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Fast Facts: Cannabis

Cannabis is the most widely used illegal drug in Britain

It is a mild sedative and it's also a mild hallucinogen

Cannabis has been reclassified as a Class C drug

The main active compound in cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

Street names for the drug include dope, draw, ganja, grass, hash, marijuana and pot.

There is some psychological dependence with cannabis but there are no physical withdrawal symptoms from cannabis use

Source: www.talktofrank.com

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