IT'S ALL A MYTH; Shoe link to drugs is booted out.
AN URBAN drugs myth is being given the boot by Stockton council chiefs in an effort to reassure residents.
A bizarre spate of people throwing shoes or trainers, tied together at the laces, over telephone cables has led to a belief it is a symbol a drug dealer is operating in the area.
The shoes are believed to act as an "advert" for the dealer to his customers.
But Councillor Steve Nelson, Stockton Council's Cabinet member for housing and community safety, said he wanted to "put people's minds at ease about this".
He said: "We do not believe that a pair of shoes over a telephone cable is a sign a drug dealer lives nearby. It's more likely to be a sign that some idiot has thrown their shoes away."
Removing shoes from telephone wires costs the council pounds 60 a time, for the rental of a cherry picker needed to safely reach them.
Cllr Nelson added: "This type of activity makes an area look scruffy and that in turn can generate other types of criminal and anti-social behaviour, such as fly tipping, graffiti and damage to property.
"We want to encourage our residents to take pride in where they live and we're asking them to report such incidents so we can get them cleared up quickly and, ideally, make sure whoever commits this type of vandalism is caught."
Cleveland Police also debunked the myth.
A spokeswoman said: "Police would not consider it as evidence that drug dealers were operating in the area."
She added that police value the help of the community in investigating alleged drug activities and urged anyone with information to contact Cleveland Police in confidence on 01642 326326 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
Stockton Council is asking anyone who witnesses shoes being thrown over telegraph wires to call 01642 527615 so they can be removed immediately and the perpetrator sent the bill.
CLEARANCE: Workmen in a cherry picker remove a paid of shoes