THE campaign to target cocaine use in Uttoxeter pubs is set to be stepped up in the coming months, a landlord and licensing chief has revealed.
Last week deputy police and crime commissioner Sue Arnold said cocaine was found in all nine of the establishments tested between May and July.
Mrs Arnold and Staffordshire Police licensing chief Jed White praised landlords for working with police to try and stamp out drug use.
Now the Old Talbot's Andrew Riley, who sits on the borough council licensing committee, has told the Post and Times efforts will be redoubled in the months leading up to Christmas.
He said: “It’s something that we as a licensing authority are working really hard to try and eradicate.
“We understand it’s an ongoing problem throughout the county and we’ll be focussing on it acutely as we get closer to Christmas.
“We’ve been speaking to police and I know there will be more sniffer dogs and stop and searches going on in the coming months.
“Since we came into the pub, we’ve been really pro-active and I fully appreciate how hard it is for licensees to tackle cocaine use.”
The proprietor of a town pub that came up negative when it was last tested told the Post and Times he has ‘fought hard’ to stop cocaine use since he took over.
The landlord, who asked not to be named, said: “When I first moved in here we had some drug issues at the pub, but they’ve now been eradicated.
“We keep a very close eye on everything and have cameras placed outside our toilets to look out for suspicious activity.
“We also put WD40 on surfaces so, if anyone does think of using drugs, it soaks them up.
“It’s common knowledge that cocaine is prevalent in town and everyone needs to continue to work to stamp it out.
“A few years ago, we found out a guy who was coming in was a supplier and he was quickly barred from the premises.
“I know how difficult it is for the pubs to keep a lid on it but, if an establishment knows they’re serving a drug dealer and don’t do anything about it, then that’s their own fault.
“If we suspected anyone was using, we’d call the police straight away and get them involved without thinking twice.”
Speaking last week, Mrs Arnold said: ““Cocaine, particularly when mixed with alcohol, breeds violence and social disorder and it needs to be stamped out.
“Uttoxeter is a comparatively quiet place in terms of public disorder and we’ll be doing everything we can, in partnership with the pubs, to maintain that.”
The pubs will be re-tested in November.