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Don't let drugs wreck Welshpool

Created on 04/08/2019 @ 21:46
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Following Thursday’s successful meeting in Welshpool to highlight drugs issues in the town, one man has stepped forward to share his own harrowing experience of how drugs have wreaked havoc.

Popular DJ Lawrence Chapple-Gill spoke on the night about how drug users have made his family’s life hell by taking advantage of his vulnerable father in Welshpool.

Mr Chapple-Gill, who now lives in Manchester, says he is facing daily challenges due to what police have come to term ‘cuckooing’, when drug users and dealers take over someone’s home.

Last year, a local man moved into his father’s house for three months, running up big telephone bills, energy bills, food costs and “literally making himself at home”.

“The meeting was a welcome step in raising awareness of the issues and challenges that the local community face now and could face in the future,” he told us. “But a proactive follow-up must be a priority now, involving the police and all other relevant organisations.

“Regardless of what anyone else may say though, I can see for myself how there’s a significant local problem - local users, local abusers, local dealers, local crime and local impact on friends, neighbours and family.

“My father is consistently targeted by the same three or four people that continually and consistently take money, short change, short sell, steal food and milk from him and undoubtedly target other Welshpool residents.

“There has to be a local solution to dealing with the issues these people create and the hardship and heartache they cause. I’m totally supportive of the work done by organisations who try to help drug and alcohol users deal with their addictions. I bet we all have friends and/or family who’ve had addiction issues in the past (or still do). But I cannot support a position or an approach which seemingly lets these people off the hook - they are not the victims here.

“The victims are the people they exploit, take advantage of, intimidate and steal from. For that, I will always vilify them. The same applies to anyone condoning, justifying or covering up their behaviour and protecting them.”

Mr Chapple-Gill said that he is contemplating CCTV in his Dad’s Welshpool home but fears it won’t be a lasting solution.

“In fact, it will probably only tell us what we already know. And it’s sad that we have to even consider doing this so that a disabled, vulnerable and often lonely pensioner can be safe in his own home.”

Thursday’s meeting in the Town Hall (pictured), which was organised by local County Councillors Graham Breeze and Amanda Jenner, was attended by around 100 residents with informative presentations made by organisations including Dyfed-Powys Police and Kaleidoscope.

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