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IT MIGHT be the home to some of Wales' most picturesque scenery and stunning tourist landmarks - but Mid and West Wales has been ranked statistically as the drug capital of England and Wales.

The Dyfed-Powys Police force area, which covers Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys, has the highest rate of drug seizures in England and Wales, with 5,321 per million people in 2014-15.

That came in higher than 4,823 per million for the Metropolitan Police and nearly double the England and Wales rate of 2,765 per million people.

The figures exclude City of London, which has a big daytime working population but a very small resident population.

Despite the top ranking the rate of drug seizures in the Dyfed-Powys force area is down 13.9% in a year, from 6,182 per million people in 2013-14, according to latest Home Office figures.

Seizures of crack have doubled in a year, with the rate up from six per million people to 12 in 2014-15, while the seizure rate for ecstasy was up 21% - a rise that makes the area a hotspot for the drug, with the fourth highest rate at 124 per million people.

The heroin seizure rate is up by 47%.

The area is also a hotspot for cannabis seizures, with 4,423 per million people, double the England and Wales rate of 2,093 per million, although this is down 12% from the previous year.

The South Wales Police force area - which includes Cardiff, Swansea and Bridgend - is a heroin hotspot, with one of the highest rates of seizures of the drug by police, with 303 per million people in 2014-15 - more than double the England and Wales rate of 135 per million.

However, this is down from 321 per million in 2013-14.

South Wales also has one of the highest rates of amphetamines seized, at 317 per million people, up 17% from 2013/14.

Drug seizures in the Gwent Police area have dropped by more than a third in a year, down 37.2% from 2,046 in 2013-14 to 1,285 in 2014-15 - one of the biggest falls in England and Wales.

But the rate of anabolic steroids being seized in Gwent has increased eight-fold in a year, from two per million people to 14, and is up 40% in Dyfed-Powys' area.

North Wales has seen the rate of cocaine seizures drop by more than half (54%) but methadone seizures have doubled.

There were 167,059 drug seizures in England and Wales in 2014-15, a 14% decrease on the number of drug seizures in 2013-14. Over the same time period there was also a 14% fall in the number of police-recorded drug offences.

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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 8, 2015
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