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People Investigates: WELCOME TO CRACKPOOL; Top seaside resorts awash with hard drugs as pushers target YOUR kids.

Byline: By PAUL McMULLAN and SHANNON KYLE

EVIL drug dealers are moving into seaside resorts across Britain to ply their filthy trade among partying youngsters, a People investigation can reveal.

As kids finish their school and university exams and flock to the beaches, hordes of pushers will be waiting for them this summer.

And many youngsters will discover it's as easy to buy a "rock" of crack cocaine as a stick of traditional seaside rock.

When they go out at night to a club or rave, teenagers will be targetted by ruthless chancers trying sell them potentially lethal ecstasy tablets. Other dealers, whether in broad daylight on the prom or under cover of darkness near the pier, will be anxious to get them hooked on LSD or heroin.

From Blackpool to Brighton and Skegness to Weston-super-Mare, People investigators found our family resorts were awash with drugs. As children made sandcastles nearby and enjoyed ice creams, our reporters were offered bucketloads of Class A substances.

Drug barons in big cities including London, Liverpool and Glasgow have grown weary of fighting bloody turf wars and being impeded by tough policing.

A variety of gangs, including ferociously violent Yardies, have instead looked to the beach resorts for easy pickings among the thousands of young clubbers and holidaymakers. Rave clubs have put new life into resorts from Blackpool to Brighton, and even more genteel places such as Weston-super-Mare and Great Yarmouth, all of which have to compete for holidaymakers who might otherwise go abroad.

But it means seaside towns have become full of vulnerable teenagers out to enjoy themselves.

Pushers are now working day and night to exploit these youngsters, many of who stay at coastal resorts to find summer jobs.

Our investigators found crack cocaine being sold on Blackpool's Golden Mile like candyfloss.

And in Brighton, police now patrol the prom on mountain bikes in an effort to deter the pushers who accost passers-by.

And cops wait at the railway station to intercept dealers who've caught on the fast train from London's Victoria. Elsewhere, the problem has spiralled out of control with police spending thousands of pounds of tax payers money trying to reign in the problem.

Here we lay bare the drugs cancer thriving at our beach resorts. Every parent should read it - or risk waving their child goodbye forever.

BLACKPOOL

HE stands under a poster for Roy "Chubby" Brown's Laughter Show on the North Pier, but the scruffy figure is dealing in misery not mirth.

Carl Stoddart tells our reporter: "What do you want - I'll do you a bag of smack for a tenner, pills at pounds 2.50 or a rock at a tenner a go - and I don't mean Blackpool rock."

He means crack cocaine and shows no shame is selling it as families with children stroll past eating ice cream. Stoddart, 35, is one of dozens of drug pushers on the Golden Mile. In his case, business was briefly interrupted recently when he spent a weekend on remand in prison.

He says he had only cannabis on him. Inconvenient, though - when trade is brisk you don't want to be off the streets.

Stoddart boasts: "I have been doing this for years and I have seen a lot of my customers start with a bit of cannabis and few pills to go raving on Friday and Saturday night - and end up doing crack and finally heroin at the end of the evening to bring them back down. I don't supply it I just deal it. There is a guy in a house round the corner. I wait here and take the orders. And only make a couple of quid on the top of every deal, but on a good night I make pounds 20 an hour."

He adds: "I know people look at me and think I'm a junkie, but my real problem is I'm a drinker.

"I come from Chesterfield in Derbyshire but Blackpool has always been good to me so I come here to do a bit of dealing. Outside the North Pier is where all the rave clubs are."

Earlier, our reporter bought three ecstasy pills for pounds 10 from a dealer down from Glasgow.

Smack, crack and pills were also being offered by a pusher from Oldham, and tablets by a dealer who'd travelled from Liverpool.

Lancashire police have launched Operation Affront headed by Detective Inspector Andy Webster to deter "tourist" dealers and local pushers on the Golden Mile. He said: "We've just closed two crack houses in Blackpool and we hope with your information to close another one soon."

Police admit they like to think of Blackpool as a family resort and their aim is to keep the amusement arcades and beach safe for children.

A spokesman said: "Operation Affront means we will be targeting specific dealers this summer to do as much as we can to clear the pushers off the streets."

GT YARMOUTH

YARDS from the busy seafront, an addict lies sprawled in an alley with a needle still sticking in his ankle.

Elsewhere, a young girl of about 15 is injecting herself with heroin.

Our reporter walks by the shore and a passer-by sidles up to ask: "Need sorting?"

The stranger rattles off a menu of drugs including ecstasy, crack cocaine, speed and LSD.

"Whatever you want. Whenever you want," adds the pusher dressed in jeans and a grubby black T-shirt.

This resort on the edge of the genteel Norfolk Broads is in the grips of a hard drugs explosion. Dealers from as far away as Liverpool and London have descended on the town in their droves, bringing with them the nightmare of addicts openly injecting themselves in front of holiday makers.

Teenage ravers who have escaped their parents for the nightclubs are easy prey to the half dozen ecstasy dealers competing for trade.

Police spokesman John Dack says: "We are bracing ourselves for what some people fear could be the worst summer of drugs ever. But we are mounting a huge campaign to make sure it doesn't happen."

Crazed catfight on the seafront

SKEGNESS

IT is 2am on the seafront and a pair of teenage girls are ripping at each other's clothes in a drug fuelled frenzy.

After police break it up, one is left dazed sitting on the pavement outside an amusement arcade while the other is carted off back to the nick. No one's in doubt that ecstasy is to blame.

At a nearby kebab counter, a girl says: "I know a couple of ecstasy dealers among the seasonal workers from Norwich."

A hot dog seller adds: "In the height of summer you can see deals going down every Friday and Saturday night in the park between the children's playground and the gent's toilets."

A police spokesman says: "We are aware of a few dealers from out of town who may try and sell drugs in the park. But we keep a visible presence with officers often in florescent jackets to deter them."

BRIGHTON

DARKNESS falls and a stroll along the prom takes on an air of menace. Out of the shadows come the whispered offers of "pills or crack".

Our reporter halts and is quickly confronted by a Yardie pusher down from his usual patch in London.

Police have put a special squad of officers at the railway station to intercept the hordes of dealers who now get off trains from Victoria.

This week, however, a gang of Yardies have slipped through the net.

Our reporter, posing as a reveller from one of the many stag parties that take place in Brighton every weekend, asks about ecstasy.

He is slyly assured he could have enough pills to keep the entire throng partying all night.

Six Drug Squad police now patrol the prom on mountain bikes. It seems less than high-tech, but the pushers are worried. Many now conceal their drug stashes underneath the pebbles on the beach in case they're searched by the bike cops.

It seemed our Yardie had done the same. "Six pills is no problem. You stay here and hold on to your money until I'm back with the them," he told our man.

The six ecstasy tablets, priced at pounds 20, were enough to put a teenage raver into a coma. When the pusher returned with the pills instead of giving him the money, we took his picture to pass on to police.

Despite the scale of the problem, local dignitaries remain optimistic. Clare Cooper of Brighton City Council says they preparing for a fresh offensive against the dealers this summer.

She explains: "London drug gangs - not just Yardies, but African gangs too - have been a big problem.

"But we now have a dedicated team of officers who patrol the beach right through the night on pushbikes.

"And with such a visible presence on the beach and with officers stepping in to search and arrest at the railway station before dealers even enter the town, we are hoping this summer that drug busts will be down.

"The gangs face too much competition in London and see Brighton as a soft touch. But it is not, and this summer we will be waiting."

Cocaine among the sandcastles

WESTON SUPER MARE

THE golden sands on a sunny day throng with children building sandcastles. A stone's throw away, our reporter is being offered ecstasy, crack cocaine and heroin.

He has only been in the resort 20 minutes before being approached by a pusher, a girl in her early 30s, who is funding her own season-long holiday by selling drugs. She says: "I don't carry E on me. I have to ring on my mobile to get it delivered."

Another dealer, his face covered in piercings and tattoos, says knowingly: "It's a bit early in the day for E. I don't usually start selling them until the clubs open at around nine or ten in the evening. Come back then and I'll sell you as many as you want."

Desperate to retain Weston's wholesome family image, the council has invested heavily in CCTV cameras and a radio link for taxi drivers to tip off cops if they think they've picked up a pusher at the railway station.

CAPTION(S):

DANGER: Party kids and a rock of crack; PUSHER: Our man & Stoddart; FIX: Junkie in Great Yarmouth; DEALS: Our man with pusher, left
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Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Jun 5, 2005
Words:1725
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