ACTION must be taken to stop rehab centres in Bournemouth advertising themselves like “Spanish holiday resorts” online and attracting a relentless influx of addicts to the borough, says Dorset’s Police Crime Commissioner.

Martyn Underhill said glossy websites for drug and alcohol rehabilitation centres in Bournemouth are luring more and more people to the area seeking help for their addiction.

But the influx is putting extra strain on police and public services and needs to be stopped.

“It’s frustrating,” he said.

“How do we stop these places advertising themselves as Spanish holiday resorts?

“People are coming here for the wrong reasons. We have enough problems of our own.”

Websites for rehabilitation centres often show picturesque images of Bournemouth seafront and list treatment programmes available to people who are not from the area.

Mr Underhill claims local authorities in other cities actively encourage addicts to move to Bournemouth for help, which the authorities in Dorset are powerless to stop.

“We need to stop this unrelenting influx of people coming here from other cities,” Mr Underhill said.

“We have local authorities in cities like London, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool deliberately encouraging their residents to move to Bournemouth.

“How do we stop local authorities doing that? I think we would need a change in the law.”

His comments follow two stabbings in Bournemouth on Monday, a third on Tuesday night and the release of this year’s crime statistics today, which show a worrying spike in violent crime across the county.

Mr Underhill said tackling knife crime and other violent crimes was one of the police’s main priorities and said crimes of this nature were often related to drugs.

He said: “An influx of people with addiction issues just makes the problem worse.

“My biggest challenge and the police’s biggest challenge is the knife issue, which goes hand in hand with drugs. It’s all interrelated.

“Dorset seems to be blighted with serious knife incidents. Although we have small numbers of incidents, each of these could be a fatality.

“We have had three stabbings in Boscombe in the last few months. It is on my radar and it’s on the chief commissioner’s radar.”

Mr Underhill is holding a meeting with politicians, councillors and police staff to address the issue on October 18.

PAUL Spanjar, director of the Providence Projects in Boscombe, said it was easy to blame rehab centres for the area’s problems.

He said: “I think that people need to look at this as what help is being offered to people. Maybe the people who have drug and alcohol problems are not being offered the right help. The majority of our client group here are privately funded.”

He said his centre had few referrals from Bournemouth Borough Council, for example, and many other seaside resorts had similar problems to Boscombe.

It was “convenient” to blame rehab centres, he said, and, to his knowledge, there were only two regulated centres in the area.

Mr Spanjar added: “There are lots of young people in Boscombe who find it hard to see a future for themselves.

“I think what happens is city culture does filter into towns eventually because people move and migrate.”

He said: “I absolutely agree and support that all rehabs should be regulated and inspected, as we are.”