Limavady drug busts worth £1.5 million

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The extent of the damage inflicted by the PSNI on the drugs trade in Limavady amounts to more than £1.5 million in financial terms, the Sentinel can reveal.

Since April 2007, police here have seized almost 87 kilograms of cannabis, just under four kilograms of cocaine and around 17,000 individual ecstacy tablets.

The total street value of the illegal drugs confiscated by the PSNI in Limavady over those years is a staggering total of £1,520,565. In fact, the most recent police statistics available show that in a single eight month stretch in 2013 (April to November), the 63 seizures carried out by police in Limavady amounted to a full £47,000 worth of illegal drugs off the market.

In terms of the different types of drugs being seized, cannabis accounts for the lions share, followed by speed (amphetamine), ecstacy and cocaine.

An analysis of detailed PSNI statistics for Limavady shows that from April 1, 2007 to November 30, 2013, a whopping 86.8 kilos of cannabis has been taken off the streets in Limavady by police. Cannabis - herbal and in the form of a resin - has accounted for the vast majority of PSNI drugs seizures in Limavady and elsewhere in Northern Ireland. In fact, statistics for the entire United Kingdom show that cannabis is the mostly widely used illegal recreational drug.

Throughout the time period examined by the Sentinel - March 2007 to November 2013 - another 800 individual cannabis plants have been seized by police in the town, although the vast majority (710) of these came in the period 2008/09. Police have also lifted 54 individual joints since 2007.

In terms of Class A drugs - those which garner the tougher sentences - the main drugs seized by police in Limavady, as elsewhere, over the past half decade have been cocaine and ecstasy. In terms of the former, Limavady police have managed to uncover almost four kilograms of cocaine powder in the past six and a half years - 3,811.6 grams to be precise. A further 278 cocaine wraps were also taken from drug dealers and users since 2007. Notable successes in terms of cocaine seizures over that time period came in 2011/12, when almost 1.5 kilograms were seized, and in 2007/08 when just over one kilograms were confiscated.

In terms of the latter, ecstacy, 16,904 tablets have been seized by police since March 2007. The vast majority of these seizures came in one year - 2007/08 - with 10,210 tablets confiscated. In the current financial year, no ecstasy tablets have been found by police.

The PSNI’s most successful year since 2007/08, in terms of the total street value of the drugs taken off the streets in Limavady, came in 2008/09 when the 96 drug seizures amounted to £684,424 worth of illegal drugs.