THE problem of the “zombie” drug spice is a “notable” challenge for policing in the Wrexham area.

According to the North Wales Police Chief Constable Carl Foulkes the impact of the drug, which mimics marijuana and leaves users in a zombie-like state, is a problem which has “gone up and down” in the town at various times.

The problem hit the headlines more than a year ago when men and women in a comatose state were photographed in and around Wrexham’s bus station.

The drug, which has been seen more in the Wrexham area, than other parts of North Wales, is thought to be due to its proximity to Merseyside and Greater Manchester where organised drug gangs operate.

Mr Foulkes, who began his role as Chief Constable for North Wales Police on Monday, November 5, 2018, was also previously a deputy Chief Constable for Merseyside Police.

He said the key to tackling the problem in Wrexham, and many other drug policing issues including County Lines, strongly lay with “partnership working.”

Mr Foulkes said: “We are looking at various tactics and strategies, to tackle drugs. The problem of spice is a notable challenge in Wrexham.

"Our main focus as a force is to make our communities a safer place, we are going for a Safest in the UK status.

"We are working with partners to tackle the problem, thinks like using signposting to help support people impacted by the drug.

"We are looking into organising things like drop-in surgeries as well as calling on the public to help by being our eyes and ears and reporting criminal activity.”

The growth in County Lines drug activity, which targets vulnerable people and associated violence, is also a major problem for the whole of the North Wales force area, exacerbated by the rural geography of the region.

Tactics outlined include partnership working to target and safeguard vulnerable people and children, assessment of people at risk, identifying cuckooing - the practice of drug dealers taking over victims’ homes and lives, greater use of stop and search, more work with the British Transport Police, and ongoing tactics to disrupt activity of drug activities within communities.

Mr Foulkes added “We have to stay ahead of the game, by using intelligence, and research and analysis.

"We will be employing more officers, using live intercept teams coming in in February, using more stop and search activity. It is our aim to make North Wales one of the safest places in the UK.”