by VR Sreeraman on  May 24, 2010 at 6:22 PM Alcohol & Drug Abuse News
 Harry Potter Town Alnwick a Hotbed of Cocaine Use
Alnwick, the small market town in Northumberland, England, made famous by the two Harry Potter flicks lensed here, has now become a hotbed of cocaine use.

Traces of cocaine, a class-A drug, were found in 24 of the 33 pubs in and around Alnwick.

Police conducted swab tests on toilet seats in licensed premises to come up with the findings.

About two-thirds of pubs across Northumberland, were tested positive for cocaine.

These included four out of four in Morpeth, three out of four in Bedlington, two out of four in Berwick, one out of four in Blyth, two out of four in Cramlington and two out of four in Hexham.

The rise in the use of coke may be due to its dramatic fall in price - it can be purchased for as little as 20pounds a gram, compared to 77pounds in 1998.

"Despite the comments from Northumbria Police, these results show drugs obviously are a major issue in Northumberland," the Mirror quoted Martin Callanan, Tory Euro MP for the North East, as saying.

He added: "I would like to know why the police were reluctant to release the full figures. It shouldn't take the Freedom of Information Act for the public to be told about this."

However, Gordon Castle, Independent councillor for Alnwick, cautioned against any hasty conclusions.

He said: "The fact two thirds of pubs test positive for cocaine does not mean two thirds of customers use cocaine."

"However, it is a serious concern. I will ask the police authority why this information was not made available." A Northumbria Police spokesman stressed the tests were a snapshot of some, not all, pubs, saying: "They can't tell us if drugs were taken there by different people, one person or a group."

Alnwick had been voted the best place to live by readers of Country Life mag in 2002.

Source: ANI

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