TACKLING the 'scourge' of drugs and antisocial behaviour in a town is being taken seriously says an inspector after several dealers ended up behind bars.

The Evesham Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) attended a recent Evesham Town Council to speak to councillors and the public, agreeing to regularly attend future meetings.

Evesham mayor Cllr Alan Booth previously said getting a grip on drug dealing was “top of the list of priorities” for the town but the problem was now “getting out of hand.”

Fresh measures being planned by police include a public Q&A session and bringing in a dedicated retail crime officer, and a parish newsletter to communicate more effectively.

Evesham town has seen a population growth rate of 24 per cent over the last two decades, which is 10 to 15 per cent higher than nearby Droitwich and Worcester.

Despite this, the median number of anti-social behaviour (ASB) incidents per month is 11, peaking in February at 14 incidents and returning to 11 in September.

Dave Wise, the Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) Inspector for Wychavon, said: “It is worth noting Evesham experienced some unlawful encampments this summer which are recorded as ASB and in turn can often generate further complaints of ASB.

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“The neighbourhood team were involved in managing these encampments and on several occasions invoked legislation when appropriate to move groups on from the area.”

“We always take anti-social behaviour seriously and our regular SNT patrols are proactively working with multiple agencies to address issues."

He also urged continued reporting of issues so police are 'well informed and can respond to the issues'.

Eight individuals are subject to Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBOs) designed to curb bad behaviour, due wholly or in part to their previous ASB.

And, of those individuals involved in ASB, police say they have successfully diverted more than half, meaning they have not been involved in another incident for over 12 months. 

Evesham SNT has this year trained 10 new street pastors around issues of drugs, knives, and public safety; collaborated with Trading Standards to tackle illegal sales of tobacco and vapes; targeted sites linked to organised crime; and worked with pubs, bars, and nightclubs to tackle nuisance behaviour.

Plans are also afoot to rejuvenate the existing Shopwatch scheme, and to station a dedicated retail crime officer in the town centre.

Recently, five members of a County Lines gang operating in Evesham were sentenced to a total of 21 years in prison and another dealer was given a seven-year sentence for drug dealing in the town.

In the last 12 months, 23 deal lines used to run an organised drug-dealing network have been shut down across South Worcestershire.

Evesham SNT has played a significant role in these efforts, including in a recent County Lines Intensification Week (CLIW) when there were 127 cuckooing visits (cuckooing is where criminals take over the home of a vulnerable person for drug dealing) in South Worcestershire and 50 separate pieces of intelligence were submitted.

“The good work achieved during the CLIW reflects our daily, year-round efforts to tackle drug dealing and the crimes associated with it to limit the impact on our communities, and we will not stop with our mission to rid the streets of this scourge of society,” added Inspector Wise.

To report any signs of criminal activity visit the West Mercia Police website under the ‘Report A Crime’ section. Alternatively, information can be given anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or on the Crimestoppers website.