Council bosses have blasted a prank sign which claims Piccadilly Gardens is a ‘designated drug dealing area.' At least one plastic laminated sign - with a copy of Manchester Council’s logo - were placed in the city centre square last week. The A4-sized notice, found on the concrete esplanade known as the Berlin Wall, reads: ‘Designated Drug Dealing Area.'
The area is currently subject to a police crackdown on drugs and anti-social behaviour - after reports that people are opening trading hard drugs in the square. And city bosses have blasted the prank logos and said that the problem was no laughing matter.
Councillor Pat Karney , city centre spokesman for Manchester Council, warned drug dealers they would be caught. He said: “Clearly this is not a genuine council sign and is apparently someone’s idea of a joke. But drug dealing in the Piccadilly Gardens area is no laughing matter and Greater Manchester Police are doing a great job cracking down on it as evidenced by recent prosecutions.
"Sadly, there wouldn’t be drugs dealers if there weren’t drug users buying from them and our message to both is simple - don’t do it because the police and our CCTV operators are watching you and you will be caught.”
Greater Manchester Police have been stepping up their efforts to stamp out a trade in skunk cannabis centred around the wall area. But over the summer they discovered that a broad daylight trade in hard drugs - including the former legal high Spice - has opened up in the heart of the city centre. Police received a number of complaints from concerned witnesses.
In August, a mother reported seeing men buying drugs and then building a crack pipe in broad daylight by the children’s play area. Police and council chiefs vow to tackle scourge of crack and cocaine dealing in Piccadilly Gardens - and state it simply will no be tolerated.
By Katie Butler - Manchester Evening News/Oct. 2 2016
Photo: capture, manchester evening news