A picturesque UK seaside resort has shaken off its reputation as “the British Magaluf” – only to be plunged into a county lines drugs war.
Just this week, a nightclub in Newquay, Cornwall, became the centre of a police investigation after 14 teenagers reportedly suffered seizures as a result of taking drugs at an under-18s rave.
One local claimed that management at Berties nightclub had "stopped calling 999 after the sixth person as they didn’t want Berties to have a bad name and removed the young people involved to the reception area".
But the problems in Newquay aren’t confined to any one club.
Earlier this month, drugs squad officers raided premises across the town, as well as nearby areas of St Austell, Truro and Penzance, leading to 31 arrests.
Criminal gangs from as far away as Merseyside have gained a foothold in Newquay, and locals say heavy drug use is changing the character of the town.
Local businessman Dave Farrow told The Sun that when he used to work as a club doorman in the 1980s, Newquay was a wild party town.
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“In those days people would often come out at 10pm or later," he said. "They’d be already drunk and wanting to party, and it would get quite messy.
“It was the party capital at that point and the streets were packed with groups of young people”.
But these days, it’s a very different and darker, atmosphere.
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“Now the drug problem here is different," Dave said. “There are areas of Newquay which have become synonymous with drugs.
“It’s really common to smell cannabis, people walk around smoking it and it’s almost become socially acceptable now. The trouble is they think they’re superior and above the law.
“I’ve also seen people at the end of the street, near the beach, openly snorting cocaine”.
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Several other locals bemoaned Newquay’s slide into hard drugs: “I’ve seen people taking drugs on the streets, and drug deals happening,” said shop owner Stephen Walker.
They don’t care who sees them and it’s so obvious a deal is taking place.
The National Crime Agency estimates over half of the areas targeted by big city county lines dealers are coastal areas such as Newquay.
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