Drugs crackdown at Potters Bar pub

PUBLISHED: 10:28 18 February 2009 | UPDATED: 22:11 26 October 2009

Pc Paul Reading, Pcso Carl Rowson and Pc David Stansbury

Pc Paul Reading, Pcso Carl Rowson and Pc David Stansbury

'WE will not tolerate drugs here.' That is the message from Pc Paul Reading, of the Potters Bar Safer Neighbourhood Team. I joined Pc Reading and his colleagues Pc David Stansbury, Pcso Carl Rowson and Pcso Katie Ball, on a cold Fri

The Admiral Byng

WE will not tolerate drugs here."

That is the message from Pc Paul Reading, of the Potters Bar Safer Neighbourhood Team, writes Chris Richards.

I joined Pc Reading and his colleagues Pc David Stansbury, Pcso Carl Rowson and Pcso Katie Ball, on a cold Friday evening in the town for a drug scanning assignment.

Taking up a position outside The Admiral Byng, in Darkes Lane, the officers tested a cross-section of customers for drugs using an Itemiser machine.

The Itemiser machine

A swab is taken of a person's palms, before being fed into the device.

If the sample tests positive for drugs the person is searched and, if narcotics are found, then they are arrested.

Speaking about the £30,000 device, Pcso Rowson said: "It will pick up a variety of drugs including cocaine and cannabis, as well as some of the more exotic substances."

Sam Williams, from Brookmans Park, was among those tested and, after getting the all clear, he told the Potters Bar Edition: "I think this testing is a good idea.

"The more the merrier."

The presence of the itemiser provoked much interest and bus driver Andreas Moustakas was among those who volunteered to have a go on the machine.

After passing the test with flying colours, he said: "I think this is a very good idea because I don't agree with drugs.

"It ruins people's lives and it messes their brains up.

He added: "This initiative has got my full support."

During the course of the evening, one man tested positive for cocaine but following a search, no drugs were found and he was allowed to enter the pub.

As the officers prepared to pack up for the evening and return to Potters Bar police station, I asked Pc Reading about the future of this exercise.

"We are going to try this once a month in different locations," he said.

"It sends out a message to the community that the police and pubs are working together."

Eddie Gershon, for pub chain J D Wetherspoon, which owns The Admiral Byng, said: "Wetherspoon has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to drugs.

"We are always happy to work with the police on initiatives like these and are pleased that The Admiral Byng was chosen.

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