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‘Cannabis footage’ sparks police probe

POLICE have pledged to investigate claims that a group of high school pupils have been smoking cannabis during break-times.

POLICE have pledged to investigate claims that a group of high school pupils have been smoking cannabis during break-times.

A resident living near Rhyddings High School has video footage showing a group of six teenagers apparently rolling and smoking "joints" outside Oswaldtwistle Town Hall.

The resident, who did not want to be named, later captured the same group inside the school grounds - not smoking this time - suggesting they are pupils at the school.

She claimed to have seen the pupils on three different occasions. They would spend most of their lunch-break smoking at the side of the Town Hall.

She said: "I think this should be brought to the public's attention. Where are these kids getting it from? The police should be trying to find out who the dealer is."

"It isn't right that this should be happening - the kids are able to stroll up and down doing whatever they like. I don't feel that they are being monitored closely enough."

Mr Barry Burke, headteacher of Rhyddings, said he had not been contacted directly about the problem, but he pledged to work with community police officers to deal with it.

He added: "We have a good record of working closely with the police - we recently represented the Eastern Division of Lancashire Police at a presentation to the Chief Constable about the way we have co-operated and made policing more effective."

"It is disappointing that whoever has taken this video footage hasn't first approached the school, but if the information is given to us, we will certainly act on it."

"We take matters like this seriously."

Sergeant Bob Eaton, who oversees the community beat managers at Accrington Police Station, said his team would use the video to identify the pupils concerned by working with the school.

He stressed that although there was no evidence that the boys were using illegal drugs, his officers would monitor the area and if the group was found to be smoking cannabis, they could be arrested.

He added: "We are aware of a number of complaints about the activities of youths in this area but they are mainly about drinking alcohol."

"The film shows some very suspicious activity but would certainly not be of sufficient evidential value to warrant an arrest under the Misuse of Drugs Act."

"We will try to identify those on camera and our current operation to tackle the broader juvenile problem should also be capable of addressing this."

"We would like to thank the complainant for making us aware of this and we will be contacting her to let her know of our activity in the area."

Cannabis was recently downgraded from a Class B to a Class C drug, but police can still arrest users who are under 17 or vulnerable, repeat offenders, anyone smoking it in public view or anyone in possession of it close to youth premises.


Stuart Pike
Deputy editor specialising in politics
Alex Bell
Bethany English
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Beth Abbit
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Jon Macpherson
Kate Watkins
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Garth Dawson
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