RESIDENTS of Pill joined police officers and councillors this evening in a meeting to tackle the “plague” of drugs taking over their streets.

Around 40 residents gathered at the Pill Millennium centre for the meeting lead by local councillors Ibrahim Hayat and Omar Ali.

Cllr Hayat said drugs had “become like a disease, a plague spreading through the area.”

He said: “We’ve got to now try and get this community back from these people. Nobody is above the law. I grew up here. This is my home and I don’t want to be driven out by anybody.
“I’ve got faith in this community. Why should we be scared of them? They should be scared of us.”

Tracey Holyoake, who voluntarily runs Pill Mill, said: “We are being treated like rats in this area. As residents, we feel no one is listening and nothing is being done.”

Ms Hollyoake referred to an incident last week when volunteers who had come to clear up the centre and its surroundings, refused to tackle one area as there were so many needles.

Another resident relayed an incident of council workers, sent to cut back the overgrown grass, having to abandon the work for the same reason.

Tony Southhall, chair of the Pill Neighbourhood Watch, said: “I’ve seen needles in places where children play. It’s total disrespect. We have individuals here today who won’t speak up, in case drug dealers see who they are.

“We don’t report it. There are 15 main drug dealers in Pill. You ask any 8-year-old in Pill and they will tell you their names, addresses and who their runners are.

“I’ve seen kids afraid to go out in the street. I don’t want to live like this.”

Police officer for Pill, Val Bryan, said: “We know what they are doing. We know they’ve got street pedlars and youngsters doing it. But we’ve got to try and identify the cars.

Officer Bryan admitted there were times when his shift would finish 1am, but no one else would be covering Pill until 4am.

He said: “It’s a big problem. There are not enough of us. But you’ve got to keep telling us and provide as much detail about these people.”

Frustrated residents made pleas for more police officers to be instated, so there is 24/7 coverage in Pill. Councillor Omar Ali said it was a matter he would take to the Police and Crime Commissioner, Ian Johnston.

These meetings will continue to take place from now on, every Wednesday at 7pm at the Pill Millennium Centre.