A COMMUNITY in Stroud is sending out a strong message to drug dealers targetting their community park and play area: ‘You’re not welcome here and we won’t put up with it’.

Residents along Horns Road say that over the past month dealers have been using the popular play area at Daisy Bank, setting up shop in order to sell, and take, drugs.

Additionally Crown and Sceptre landlord Rodda Thomas told the SNJ that he has called the police up to 10 times over recent weeks after the drug pushers were seen approaching children in the community park.

“It’s horrific, I see them sitting up in the play area almost every day taking drugs,” Rodda said.

“They’ve been spotted trying to sell drugs to the young people who go to the park too, and now parents are being forced to keep their children away from the play area that the community has worked so hard to create.”

Rodda told the paper that he has taken a zero tolerance approach to the activity, removing those that he believes to be involved from his pub, and on occasion, he has been forced to call the police several times in one evening.

“It’s affecting my business,” Rodda said. “I’ve had my pub window smashed and I’ve been forced to install CCTV.

“The community has had enough and a public meeting has been called next Monday, September 17, to discuss what can be done.

“I’ve invited our pub regulars and the families who live along Horns Road to come along so we can come up with a community plan.

“We want to let the individuals involved know that they’re not welcome here and we won’t put up with it any longer.”

A stained glass window at the Crown and Ceptre pub on Horns Road was smashed after Rodda reported the activity to police

County councillor Eva Ward (Green, Stroud Central) said that she believes that a strong message needed to be sent to those involved.

“We need to come together and support the police so that they can support us,” Cllr Ward said.

“There’s a huge population of young families and we love where we live - we don’t want anyone abusing that.

“Those involved need to know that they aren’t able here to just come here and upset us - our community won’t accept it.”

This new activity comes after public toilets in Stroud town centre have closed following illegal drug use.

Bedford Street toilets were locked up after cleaners reported finding used needles and drugs paraphernalia there on a regular basis.

Additionally police were forced to issue 14 dispersal orders in another park in Stroud over one weekend in August as part of an effort to crack down on ‘anti-social behaviour’ reported by those living nearby.

Stroud MP David Drew has committed to working with the community to find a solution.

“I am concerned about the reports and will be talking to our local services and communities about the best way forward,” he said.

“I want to ensure that our streets, towns and parks can remain safe, vibrant places for everyone to enjoy.

“These kind of issues are happening against a backdrop which has seen Gloucestershire’s police officers cut by 20 per cent youth services reduced and access to addiction treatment getting harder.”

Stroud police confirmed that they have responded to reports of alleged drug dealing in the Daisy Bank area but were unable to identify any offences.

A police spokesperson said that extra patrols would be taking place in the area and urged members of the public with concerns about drug taking, or any other illegal activity to contact their local neighbourhood team. If a crime is in progress always call police on 999.

Members of the public are invited to attend a meeting at the Crown and Sceptre on Horns road at 7.30pm next Monday, September 17.