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TOWN councillors have expressed their concern about drug-taking and anti-social behaviour amongst the youth of Melksham and have vowed to tackle the problem with the support of police and local support networks.
Following a number of incidents around the town that saw acts of vandalism on a number of cars and at the Primrose Nature Walk, Wiltshire Youth Canoe Club and Forest Community Centre, the town council raised the issue of anti-social behaviour and how to deal with it at a meeting last month.
Whilst discussing the issue with West Wiltshire Police community coordinator, PC Lee Pelling, councillors shared their concerns about drugs in the town, highlighting that King George V skate park, Hornchurch play area and Woody park on Queensway are all hot-spots for drug dealing and drug taking.
About the Woody park, Mayor of Melksham, cllr Adrienne Westbrook said, “I spent a couple of hours yesterday cleaning up the Woody and all the drug paraphernalia there. There were no needles, but there was all the other evidence of drugs there and that was back there again this morning. So there is a huge amount of drug-taking there.
“A month ago, we saw the drug deals taking place. They do it in the parrot, a piece of children’s play equipment. It was absolutely obvious, there was money and drugs changing hands. It’s absolutely brazen, it would be easy to get the evidence as to who is doing it. I’m not talking about the kids who are paying, it’s the dealers, let’s get them off the streets!”
Deputy Mayor of Melksham, cllr Jon Hubbard, said, “It pains me to say it, but Melksham has got a serious drug problem, a serious drug problem with young people.”
At the meeting, the council decided to invite Motiv8 – a service for young people who need help with substance misuse – to come and do some work in the community on the streets, reaching out to the younger people of Melksham.
PC Pelling also noted that Melksham Oak School has also approached local police and Motiv8 for support and will be working with them in the future to tackle the problem. “I went to a meeting at Melksham Oak School a couple of weeks ago with the senior staff there, as they are concerned. Motiv8 were also at that meeting. A lot of Melksham’s youth goes to Oak, so that’s a great platform to educate and share the message and deliver that within the school.
“Our team who work within secondary schools are going to work with Motiv8 to deliver some input in some of their personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE). It is about education and helping young people make the right choices.”
PC Pelling also said that he will ask police to patrol the areas identified as drug hot-spots in a bid to get the areas cleaned up.