Phonebox in Wrexham providing 'a hotline for drugs deals'

Reporter:

Staff reporter (Leader Live)

A PHONEBOX said to provide a “hotline” for drug dealers on a Wrexham estate must be removed, according to councillors.
 
Cllr Keith Gregory told Caia Park Community Council the kiosk on the corner of Montgomery Road and Wavell Avenue in Caia Park, Wrexham, was so popular for drug deals that people queue up to use it.
 
He said something must be done to tackle the problem, which can see deals done in and around the box at all times of day and night.
 
But BT have said it will not get rid of the box – because it is so well used.
 
Cllr Gregory said: “It’s a hotline to every drug dealer in Wrexham.
“You see them there every day – all queuing up there to use it.
 
“They won’t use mobiles because that can be traced, but calls from
phoneboxes could be anyone.”
 
Cllr Jayne Johnson also pointed to the problem.
 
She told the Leader: “My mum lived opposite from there until November last year and you could see it happening all day.
 
“People were being dropped off or turning up on bikes and you could tell what they were there for. I’ve got relatives who live around there too and lots of other residents have said to me they are concerned about it.”
 
Cllr Gregory called for the box to be taken away, but addressing the May meeting of the community council, PCSO Simon Griffiths said operators BT had other ideas.
 
“In the past BT have said point blank they won’t remove it because of the revenue it generates – whatever reason, it will not be moved.”
 
A spokesperson for BT said: “We wouldn’t remove payphones that are being used on a regular basis as this would be unfair on the genuine users.
 
“We can block incoming calls to a payphone if the police think this will help tackle the problem.”
 
A statement from the communications regulator Ofcom said BT is obliged to provide a reasonable amount of phone boxes where they are most needed.
 
But Cllr Gregory said: “Local residents are always complaining about it.
 
Someone turns up on a pushbike, in a car or on foot – the amount of people you see using it, they are not ‘normal’ people.
 
“How many phone boxes are left now and who uses them with mobile phones around?
 
“I’d like to see BT take it away – they might make money from it, but think about where that money is coming from.
 
“If there was a camera there, that might help, it definitely needs more surveillance.”

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