BOURNEMOUTH generally, and Boscombe in particular is facing problems with violent Somali drugs gangs.

The Daily Echo understands they have been operating in the town for several months and Roumelia Lane area is a specific area of concern for police.

It is thought that the block of flats where yesterday’s killing took place has been one of the properties used by the gangs, though there is no confirmation yet that the two things are linked.

Police intelligence shows several of the local addicts in the area are working for the Somalis as runners and distributors.

One Roumelia Lane resident said: “We know quite a lot about the Somalis. There have been fights.

“There’s a lot of activity in that building, there has been for a while. It was going to come to something.”

The resident added: “You see lots of comings and going, people chucking keys out the windows, people bringing people into the property, people coming and leaving after 15 minutes.”

Elaine Findlay, chairman of the Springbourne Forum, said: “The police have said generally in the Bournemouth area, not just Boscombe, that Somali drug dealing is becoming a problem.”

Somali drugs gangs have operated in other seaside towns such as Southend and are regarded as the most violent and ruthless in the narcotics trade – mainly because many of members have come to the UK from the lawless streets of war torn Mogadishu where violence is a fact of life.

The UK may have as many as quarter of a million Somali immigrants.

In one reported incident in Boscombe, a street battle broke with gang members wielding knives.

In another one dealer was attacked with hammer blow to the head.

Local councillor Chris Wakefield said it was well known that a supply of drugs was coming into town.

“We regularly receive briefings at a high level about what is happening in general terms but not the operational details.”

In Southend, police said the Somalis method was to force their way into flats and use them as bases for selling crack cocaine.

Another worker said: “There’s a lot of trouble in those flats.”


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