Belfast Telegraph

Police probe '9-year-old drug dealer'

By Nevin Farrell
17 December 2004

Shock claims that children as young as nine- years-old are dealing drugs in Ballymena are set to be investigated by the police, it was revealed today.

The disturbing allegations were made at a meeting of the District Policing Partnership in the town last night.

Ballymena police commander, Superintendent Terry Shevlin, said that if information was provided to him the case would be investigated and he said if it turned out to be true it would be "shocking".

He said a nine-year-old dealing drugs would be "quite something".

An experienced community group official, who did not wish to be named for fear of his home being attacked, told the meeting he was aware of two primary school children involved in the supply of drugs and he believed they must be the "youngest dealers" in the Co Antrim town.

He said one of the children was as young as nine and the other a "little bit older".

And he said information had already been passed to the police in the case.

The community representative also said the nine-year-old was involved in selling Ecstasy tablets.

And he alleged the boy had drugs in school and that dealing was taking place near the school.

At the meeting Supt Shevlin also said increased efforts by the Assets Recovery Agency against drug lords meant "it's payback time".

He told the District Policing Partnership meeting: "The people that keep their hands off the drugs and get other people to do their dirty work, we will be pointing anybody in Ballymena in the direction of the Assets Recovery Agency, if we can't prosecute them."

He was responding to claims from DPP member, Councillor Maurice Mills (DUP), who said that despite having success against "low level" dealers the police never seemed to prosecute certain other big players.

The councillor said: "These people have been operating for years and there never seems to be a finger put on them."

Mr Mills said people were greatly concerned as they passed information to the PSNI but the police seemed to "get so far but then seem to lose it".

But Supt Shevlin said the Assets Recovery Agency had been involved in a case in recent days in Coleraine which outlined the police's intentions. He also pointed to a major drugs seizure in Glarryford near Ballymena in May this year which police valued at £1.75m.

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