Page last updated at 12:03 GMT, Tuesday, 3 June 2008 13:03 UK

Scottish drug seizures decrease

Cannabis plant
Ministers said thousands of cannabis plants were seized

The number of drug seizures in Scotland last year fell by almost a fifth, according to new figures.

The drop was largely down to a 31% decrease in cannabis seizures, although there was an increase in the quantity of cannabis plants seized from gangs.

The level of Class A drugs found by police was at an all time high, although some increases were small.

Total seizures stood at 20,938 in 2006-07, compared with 25,314 in 2005-06, said official figures.

Crack seizures, according to the statistics, went up from 185 in 2005-06 to 226 in 2006-07.

Over the same timescale, cocaine seizures increased from 1,302 to 1,692 and heroin, from 3,275 to 3,289.

We continue to hit dealers where they like it least - in their pockets
Gordon Meldrum
Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency

Seizures of cannabis - reclassified from Class B to Class C in 2004 - decreased from 19,319 to 13,364.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said although the number of seizures of Class C drugs were down, the quantities seized were up, with 20,000 cannabis plants confiscated by police last year in police operations.

"The increase in the number of Class A drugs seized shows that police are taking strong enforcement action against those drugs which cause the most harm to our communities," he said.

Mr MacAskill warned enforcement alone would not tackle the drug problem which cost society 2.6bn a year, adding: "Our new drugs strategy contains a commitment to strengthen existing powers to seize assets from drug dealers and also maps out a fresh approach to drugs education."

Gordon Meldrum, head of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, said the figures showed the scale of the drugs problem facing the country.

"The quantities of class A drugs we took off the street and the cannabis farms smashed will have benefited every community in the country," he said.

"In addition, we continue to hit dealers where they like it least - in their pockets - with millions of pounds of ill gotten gains pouring into the public purse from use of the Proceeds of Crime Act."

The figures excluded information from Revenue and Customs and British Transport Police.


SEE ALSO
Government unveils drug strategy
29 May 08 |  Scotland
Sharp rise in prison drug finds
30 May 08 |  South of Scotland
Addicts 'not second-class people'
23 Mar 08 |  Scotland

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