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Petition launched to clean up 'heroin problem' in St Austell

Petition launched to clean up 'heroin problem' in St Austell

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 6:51am 22nd July 2020.

Written by Richard Whitehouse, Local Democracy Reporter

A woman has launched a petition to rid her hometown of a “heroin problem” after seeing a photograph of someone injecting themselves in public in broad daylight.

Jodie Richards, 27, launched the petition today calling on “Cornwall Council to formally address the heroin problem in St Austell Town Centre”.

Jodie, who lives in the town, said she was prompted by a photo which was posted on Facebook yesterday showing a man injecting a needle into his arm.

The photo was said to have been taken close to the Iceland supermarket in the town centre.

It prompted a number of comments from people who said they were concerned that the drug problem in the town is out of control.

Jodie said: “I live in the town centre and the photo posted was taken just a short distance from my front door.

“I really appreciate that these people, you can’t just dump them somewhere else and make them someone else’s problem, but they need support and we need to make sure that they are being helped properly.

“We need Steve Double (MP), the council, the police and everyone else to keep the wet houses, as they’re known, under control.

“The residents from these places are going into the town and causing problems. I have heard about people defecating in the churchyard and all sorts of things. It’s awful.”

Jodie Richards, St Austell resident

Jodie is calling on all the agencies involved in helping drug addicts in the town to be more open about what is being done to help them and what is being done to protect the public.

“They need to be transparent,” she said “They need to tell us about what they are doing.

“They all seem to pass the buck from one another. I commented on a Facebook post by Steve Double and asked him about something and he said it wasn’t his problem it was the council. I asked the council and they said it was for the police.

“Everybody seems to pass the buck. I really want to know what is being done to try and address this problem.”

Jodie Richards, St Austell resident

Jodie said that despite living in the town she did not visit the town centre herself and said that she would not let her nine-year-old stepdaughter to go into the town.

Having grown up in St Austell she recalled her own childhood when she and her friends would spend hours at weekends and during holidays just hanging out in town. She said this would not be possible now.

“Tourism is such a massive part of Cornwall’s economy but why would anyone want to come to St Austell? I wouldn’t want to and I live here.

“All my friends and family say the same – we don’t come into the town centre, if we want to go shopping we will go to Fraddon for the M&S or go to Truro, Exeter or Plymouth.

“The atmosphere in the town is dire, all the nice shops seem to have gone over the years.

“There are so many people who are begging when you go into the town centre – they wait by the shops and the cashpoints. It’s not nice.

“When I was growing up we would go into town and walk around, hang out by the cinema – we would spend hours in there with no concerns at all.

“I wouldn’t want my stepdaughter going into the town even if she was with me let alone by herself.”

Jodie Richards, St Austell resident

Jodie hopes that her petition will spur people into action and said she had already been offered the chance to speak to Steve Double and said that she was also talking to Sandra Heyward, Cornwall councillor for Gover ward in St Austell.

She said she hopes that there might be a public meeting arranged – when safe to do so – to allow people to share their views and for the agencies to explain what is being done to help.

“I would really like to see a public meeting – I want people to work together to make this better.”

You can sign Jodie’s petition here.

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