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Last Updated: Friday, 24 October, 2003, 16:31 GMT 17:31 UK
Crack dealers targeting towns
Drug gangs from inner city areas are targeting rural areas across Britain, a BBC Panorama investigation has revealed.

The gangs from the West Midlands are "doubling their money" by setting up drug networks in small towns hundreds of miles away from the cities.

The programme, to be shown on BBC One at 22.15 GMT on Sunday 26 October reveals that as many as nine gangs from Wolverhampton are operating in the north-east of Scotland.

One former dealer has warned that killings are inevitable as other gangs from other cities try to muscle in on these lucrative rural targets.

The dealer, who spoke to Panorama on the condition of anonymity, described the process in detail.

High profits

The stabbings, the slashings, samurai swords incidents. The beatings up, trashing of houses, you're not expecting that in such a quiet community as we live in.
Dr Sandy Wisley, GP in Fraserburgh

He claimed that the gangs have decided to concentrate their efforts away from the inner cities because the drugs business was becoming too violent.

Big inner city drug dealers began targeting Aberdeen, and the surrounding fishing towns such as Fraserburgh and Peterhead in the mid 1990s.

As a result there is now a major drug problem in the north-east of Scotland.

A survey of known drug users in Aberdeen this year revealed 400 had taken crack cocaine. Three years ago the figure was 12.

In the town of Fraserburgh, which has a population of 20,000, one local GP estimates that 20 to 25 per cent of his young patients are drug addicts.

Drugs mules

This figure would come as no surprise to the ex-drug dealer, who says that high profits and more safety have made the area extremely attractive to inner city gangs.

He told Panorama: "Hang around here being shot by other dealers? Over there (Aberdeen) you've got it easy, cushy, because you've got nothing much to worry about, the police don't bother them up there."

He explained that drugs mules get given 500 to take small quantities of drugs (a few kilos at a time) from Wolverhampton to Aberdeen.

"Maybe one in a hundred ever gets caught," he added.

The crack reaches the sleepy towns in Scotland by road, rail, bus and car.

"Young girls, Asian lads, Jamaicans, English people" get involved with transporting the drugs. Recently, locals from the north-east of Scotland have also been used because they arouse less suspicion.

Slashings and stabbings

It'll be the same as what's happening everywhere else, people will be shooting each other trying to control it.
Ex-drug dealer

As for the drugs kingpins. "You never see them. They organise the drugs and when they're on the streets they're distributed. It's only they're making a loss or something's going wrong that you do see them."

In Fraserburgh, Dr Sandy Wisley has seen the devastating effect that crack cocaine has had on the town.

He has been a local GP for two decades and has watched the decline with horror.

He said: "Well it's hardly downtown LA here is it? There have been major incidents in the last 2 years that would have been totally unheard of in the 80s and early 90s prior to the drug scene exploding upon us.

"The stabbings, the slashings, samurai swords incidents. The beatings up, trashing of houses, you're not expecting that in such a quiet community as we live in and yet it can happen, it has happened. Seeing girls that are selling their bodies. It's just totally foreign to our nature here to be involved in such things."

The place to be

Crack cocaine
Could crack cocaine lead to a turf war in rural Scotland?
But the peace could be about to shatter, and the turf wars which are prevalent in urban areas could spill into rural Scotland.

The former dealer explained: "You used to call it the Wolverhampton run, but now there are groups from Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham all trying to get in on it.

And in a chilling warning, he says that the quiet corner of Britain could succumb to the brutal violence of gang wars.

He said: "It'll be the same as what's happening everywhere else, people will be shooting each other trying to control it.

"It's happening everywhere, so I can't see any reason for it not happening there. Aberdeen's a place to be at the moment, if you're selling drugs."

Crack UK will be broadcast on BBC One on Sunday, 26 October, 2003 at 22:15 GMT.



SEE ALSO:
Crack UK
10 Oct 03  |  Panorama
Your comments
24 Oct 03  |  Panorama


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