Page last updated at 11:19 GMT, Sunday, 14 December 2008

Revellers swabbed for drug abuse

Itemiser machine
The Itemiser can test for drugs such as cocaine and crystal meth

A device which can be used to detect traces of illegal drugs on people's hands has been used in Tayside for the first time.

Officers used the 25,000 Itemiser on revellers going into pubs and clubs in Arbroath on Friday and Saturday night.

People are not legally required to provide a hand swab but many do so voluntarily.

The work was carried out by a special task force dedicated to tackling crime in Arbroath.

Sgt Carol Brown of the task force said: ''The Itemiser is an excellent piece of technology that allows us to check whether or not a person has been in possession of illegal drugs - including cocaine, cannabis, methamphetamine, amphetamine - with a simple swab of their fingertips.

"We were grateful for the co-operation of the licensees involved this weekend who share our determination in deterring drug dealing and drug misuse from their premises.

"Spot checks such as these offer reassurance to patrons and a confidence that illegal drugs will not be tolerated by the police or our partners in the night-time economy.''

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