Police patrol over allotment concerns

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POLICE have upped patrols on a Matlock allotment after some tenants raised concerns about suspected drug abuse and female safety on the site.

In August, a tenant at Well Field allotment, on Chesterfield Road, brought the matter to police attention after stepping on a discarded syringe – which, it is suspected, was used to inject illegal drugs.

Another concerning incident was revealed after a female allotment holder contacted police to report her distress at being approached by a male when gardening in the late evening.

David Goodridge, chair of Well Field Allotment Society, said: “She felt uncomfortable with the attention she was getting and has now stopped working in late evenings.”

Following this incident, a few other female tenants have come forward to voice similar concerns.

Mr Goodridge added: “There have been a few other problems with beer cans being left about and some of the produce being stolen.”

However, Mr Goodridge was keen to point out that, aside from a small number of concerns, tenants were extremely happy with the allotment and were not overly worried by recent events.

Despite this, officers have been paying regular visits to Well Field allotment in the last fortnight and have spent considerable time talking to tenants and checking there are no further concerns.

Sgt Nick Reason, of Matlock’s Safer Neighbourhood police team, said: “We are aware of the incidents and one of our key objectives has been to increase visibility in the area.

“We are working with Matlock Town Council and the tenants as I can understand that people are concerned about these issues.”

During a routine patrol on Thursday, September 20, Sgt Reason – accompanied by the Mercury – spent an afternoon on the site talking to tenants.

Allotment holder Keith Hodgson, of Matlock, said: “I’ve been here for a while now and haven’t had any trouble. I’m aware that a few people have had problems but as a whole, we are a happy group.”

Sgt Reason said: “These are isolated incidents but I would like to make people aware that there are services available in Matlock where drug users can dispose of needles safely.”

For information on Matlock’s drug services contact 01773 744595.