01-25-2010, 10:48 AM
Parking warden accused of dealing drugs on duty
9:59am Monday 25th January 2010
By Sam Adams
A REDBRIDGE traffic warden has been accused of dealing cannabis while on duty - after an undercover sting operation by a national newspaper.
The officer, who was in full uniform at the time, was filmed handing over a packet to a Daily Mirror reporter which the newspaper claims contained a quantity of potent 'skunk' cannabis.
The man, who was filmed accompanied by another uniformed officer at the time - alleged by the Mirror to be a deputy manager with the service - is also heard on the video apparently offering to help cancel parking tickets for the reporter.
A spokesman for Apcoa, which runs parking enforcement in Redbridge, said: "Clearly we are shocked and appalled by this story and we are taking it very seriously.
"We are carrying out a full investigation and have suspended the members of staff involved.
"If we find that criminal activity has taken place we will pass that information to the police."
A spokeswoman for Redbridge Council said: "We are satisfied that Apcoa has launched an immediate investigation into this issue and have asked that we are kept informed and given a full report and update on any findings.
"The staff involved have been suspended pending conclusion of the investigation and we will continue to work closely with Apcoa regarding this matter.
"The council has alerted the police who, we understand, will be undertaking an investigation."
01-25-2010, 10:56 AM
Shocking moment parking warden sells potent cannabis
By Stephen Moyes 25/01/2010
A Swaggering traffic warden openly deals skunk cannabis while on duty in the street.
He thinks nothing of handing over the illegal drug which carries a maximum 14 years jail for convicted dealers in a busy residential area.
He was exposed by the Mirror in an undercover investigation in which he boasted he could get unlimited supplies of the dangerous Class B substance.
His ticketing machine swinging around his waist, the chubby attendant also proudly claimed to be able to cancel any parking ticket if he gets the nod on the day it is issued.
A second warden a deputy manager at his depot who was present at the drug transaction calmly advised on how to achieve the best high from the cannabis. Our investigation was launched after learning of a crooked warden selling dope on duty in Redbridge, North East London. We then contacted an experienced worker we understood to be selling drugs known to his company as depot number 492 while on patrol.
He immediately indicated he sold skunk nicknamed punk but first had to retrieve it from his locker at the depot, where he keeps his stash.
Keen to chop something out earlier if possible, the 29-year-old said over the phone: How much do you want?
He first suggested doing the drug deal in the parking depot,but later arrived at an arranged spot in Ilford at 3.15pm last Wednesday and shook hands with our undercover investigator, whom he had never met before.
He handed over three packets, or scores, of cannabis in exchange for s60.
In full uniform including peaked cap, he was accompanied by his friend and colleague, warden 501, who is a deputy duty manager at the local depot. At the meeting, 492 shook our man's hand, and handed over a clear plastic bag.
He said: Theres three score in there, yeah? When asked what the cannabis was like, the lanky deputy manager chipped in, saying: I think its alright, yeah. I dried my bit out for about a month.
And the 29-year-old added: Its not wet. You can dry it out for five, 10 minutes. Its a little bit sticky. Grind it. You grind it, yeah?Its the best thing to do.
Taking the money, he made it clear he regularly sold illegal drugs on the streets, adding: I'm here every day, yeah. And his services appeared not to stop at dealing in skunk.
When our man indicated he had received a parking ticket,warden 492 said: Listen, phone me the day you get it and, nine times out of 10, I can sort something out for you.
The warden, who lives in Dagenham, Essex, boasted he could supply ounces of the drug. He said: Yeah, yeah. If you want Os and all that. Give me a couple of days notice because it comes from my grower inf***ing Cold Norton. He lives out in the countryside in Essex, man.
Then after shaking hands, the warden turned and walked off with his friend, counting his money. He had a spring in his step as he resumed duties patrolling the streets for illegally parked cars.
The deputy duty manager, who also lives in Dagenham, turned and added: Take it easy. The Mirror immediately put the skunk in an envelope and stapled it closed. It was then taken to forensic scientists.
Stafford-based accredited drug test firm ScreenSafe UK confirmed within 24 hours the substance was cannabis. The scores weighed over seven grammes.
The wardens work for Apcoa, which won the parking enforcement contract for the area from Ilford-based Redbridge borough council.
The Government reclassified cannabis from Class C to Class Bin January last year to reflect the fact skunk, a much stronger version of the drug, now dominates the UK.
The Mirrors dossier of evidence is readily available to the police, Apcoa bosses and Redbridge borough council officials. Apcoa claims to be the UK's leading parking enforcement firm, and run 1.24 million parking spaces at 5,500sites in 19 countries.
It has won the deals for its traffic wardens to patrol the streets in boroughs including Brent, Hackney and Southwark in London,and across the country in regions including Southend-on-Sea,South Tyneside and Wolverhampton.
The Mirror last night spoke to Apcoa chief Chris Pullen and on-street operations director Graham Morthew.
Apcoa said: We are appalled by these allegations and will be taking them very seriously. We would like to see the Mirrors dossier and will be launching our own investigation immediately. If there is any suggestion of illegal activity by Apcoa employees, well be straight on to the police.
Skunk has swept away many less potent forms of cannabis on the market and accounts for more than 80% of the drug on our streets, up from30% in 2002.
Medical experts say the potent drug has led to a number of addicts to kill.
Skunk is two to three times stronger than cannabis, although some strains can be more powerful.
The drugs strength comes from the high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol that it contains.
It's name comes from the pungent smell it produces while growing. It is cultivated from legally obtainable seeds.
Cannabis users are up to 40% more likely to develop apsychotic illness, said a study in The Lancet.
SUPER-strong skunk cannabis has led to an increase inviolent crime. Psychiatrists say prolonged use can lead to susceptible smokers developing paranoid schizophrenia often with devastating results.
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