THE increase in copper and lead theft in the Coleraine area has resulted in police spending more man-hours tackling that crime, rather than targeting drugs offences.
That was one of the findings in the PSNI Area Commander’s report to Coleraine District Policing Partnership last Monday night.
Chief Inspector Nicky Thompson mentioned that from April to September this year, a police target to increase the number of people charged or reported for possession of drugs had not been met.
One of the factors for this failure was the amount of police time being taken up investigating the huge increase in copper and lead thefts.
“There are a number of reasons why detection figures are lower than the same period last year,” Chief Inspector Thompson told the meeting in Kilrea Town Hall.
“Some possession of small quantities of drugs for first time offenders are dealt with by cautions but a significant amount of our proactive patrolling recently has been directed towards the increasing number of burglaries across the area involving the theft of copper and lead.
“We have also noticed a reduction in the level of intelligence on drug activity in the area.
“I would encourage anyone with information on persons involved in drug dealing to do the right thing and pass it on to police, either directly or using the Crimestoppers line 0800 555 111,” added Chief Inspector Thompson.