A POLICE inspector has slammed "irresponsible celebrities" whom he says are helping to fuel drug-related crime by sending out the message that taking drugs is acceptable.

Inspector Mark Kelly of East Bournemouth section told residents of East Bournemouth in a neighbourhood newsletter that addiction to class A drugs now accounts for more than two thirds of acquisitive crime and is the motivation for almost all prostitutes who work on the streets.

His comments echo national fears that celebrities seen taking drugs are influencing a whole generation of young people to think that taking drugs is the norm.

A recent survey showed that around 18 per cent of tourists said that they had noticed a severe drug problem across Bournemouth, revealed Insp Kelly.

Celebrities who have hit the headlines with their drug habits include singer Amy Winehouse and husband Blake, who are regularly pictured bloody and dishevelled after drug taking binges.

Supermodel Kate Moss and musician Pete Doherty have also come in for heavy criticism in the national press for their drug-fuelled lifestyles.

Insp Kelly said: "Almost all street prostitutes are addicted to class A drugs. And many of the people who commit theft, burglaries, are doing it to pay for drugs or sometimes alcohol.

"Drug addiction and crime caused by drug addiction is a very serious problem.

"Anywhere there are large numbers of drug rehabilitation centres you will find some problems.

"There's an awful lot in Bournemouth. What would probably help is if we didn't have highly irresponsible celebrities who have made it known they are quite happy to take cocaine and it is somehow acceptable.

"Cocaine and heroin are particularly dangerous and also certain types of cannabis.

"My experience of drug addicts is that the majority will come from problematic backgrounds but they come from all sorts of social backgrounds and one thing about them is they will do almost anything to get their next fix whether that be stealing or prostituting themselves. They seem to lose the sort of basic standards most people live by."

Police are fighting back against the problem with Asbos and by concentrating on helping people quit their drug habits and re-integrate into society, added Insp Kelly.

Graham Hill, dubbed "Bournemouth's most notorious car thief", recently became the subject of an Asbo which will impose restrictions on his behaviour following his release from prison in September.

Several crackhouses have been closed down and street dealing has been clamped down on under Operation Dismantle.