Chad takes an in-depth look into Mansfield’s drugs issue

The subject of drugs has been hitting the headlines not just in Nottinghamshire but across the country recently.

From “zombies” on former “legal high spice”, to boxes of needles being found on residential streets, what are authorities doing to clean up Mansfield, and do residents feel enough is being done?

Last week, the Chad revealed how a box of used needles had been found on Moor Street, near Sutton Road Primary School, which council bosses have called an “isolated incident”.

Hayley Barsby, Mansfield District Council chief executive, says: “Moor Street was an unusually large haul of needles, and an isolated incident. It’s not a commonplace activity.

“It was a private property that got cleared out, and we assisted with the clean up. There were concerns children played there.

“On private property, the needles are the responsibility of the land owner and we have no power to remove needles. “On public land, highways and pavements, we will respond to complaints in an appropriate manner.”

So who is responsible for drug users and the clean up associated with it?

Ms Barsby says: “The answer isn’t just down to MDC, it is down to clinical commissioning groups and neighbouring authorities.

“It’s a complex issue, what provision is out there for people?”

Obviously the issue is deeper than just “clearing up” people on drugs, and the fall-out associated with it.

Inspector Nick Butler, Nottinghamshire Police’s Mansfield district commander, says there is provision out there for people who do take drugs, and reiterated his message to not give them money.

He says: “If you do want to help, give to a charity such as Framework that helps users.”

He says police had stepped up their patrols in the town centre, and action was being taken against the people who take drugs and end up being anti-social.

He says: “Twelve people have been arrested in the town centre over the last two weeks, and we have issued 42 directions to leave the town centre and not return.

“Those who have returned have been prosecuted and two have been put before the courts.

“There are 16 officers in the town centre to assist with anti social behaviour, and we are on top of the problem.”

Ben Bradley, Mansfield MP, has called for spice, also known as mamba, to be recategorised as a class A drug.

Mr Bradley said: “Drug use appears to be a growing problem in Mansfield, particularly in and around the town centre and I’ve had concerns reported both about discarded needles, and the ‘zombie’ drug mamba.

“I met Insp Butler to get some assurances there is a robust plan in place, and he’s assured me new measures are being rolled out as we speak.

“Nobody should have to put up with the scenes we’ve seen in our town centre recently and nobody should have to deal with boxes of used needles on their street.”

“In my role as MP I have asked Government to consider raising mamba from a class B to a class A drug as its impact on individuals and communities is arguably worse in fact than other class As like heroin or cocaine, and this will strengthen the police’s ability to deal with it.

“I’ve also asked them to look harder at a national strategy for these substances, as it’s not just a Mansfield issue, but is happening across the country. “We need to work together to deal with it and take firm action.”

So with all these reassurances from the authorities, surely we should feel safe in Mansfield and not expect to see drug users?

However, one resident says she saw three people clearly under the influence of mamba when she parked in Queen Street car park.

She says: “This is not a place for families to visit now, no wonder the town isn’t thriving.”

She said: “I’m appalled that the person’s in authority in our town just allow these people to conduct themselves in such a way that puts Mansfield in a bad light and also intimidates people when they are entering our town.

“No amount of hanging baskets and nice flower displays are going to mask this 
problem.”