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Street dealing Drug gangs using addicts who owe money to destroy CCTV cameras

Gardaí arrested a drug addict in Ballymun this weekend, who had climbed a pole with an axe to smash a camera beside a playground in Whiteacre Crescent

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Cameras near this playground being wrecked by gangs

Cameras near this playground being wrecked by gangs

Cameras near this playground being wrecked by gangs

A crack cocaine gang is forcing addicts who owe them money to chop down CCTV cameras so gardaí can't monitor their illegal dealing.

And one local councillor said hundred of thousands of euro has to be spent replacing the cameras, money that should be spent on improving the area for local people.

Gardaí arrested a drug addict in Ballymun this weekend, who had climbed a pole with an axe to smash a camera beside a playground in Whiteacre Crescent.

It was one of more than a dozen in the area to have been targeted this year, and had only recently been replaced following another attack.

Sources say the gang, who deal in crack cocaine and other drugs, have been using addicts to target the cameras to pay off debts.

They also targeted cameras in the Shangan area.

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Gangs try to hide deals but locals know what they’re at

Gangs try to hide deals but locals know what they’re at

Gangs try to hide deals but locals know what they’re at

A Garda spokesman said: "Gardaí on ­patrol in the Whiteacre Park area of Ballymun on Friday at approximately 11.50pm, observed a man tampering with the CCTV system.

"The man, in his 40s, was ­arrested and taken to Ballymun Garda Station. He has since been charged in relation to this ­incident and is due before the Criminal Courts of Justice on June 17."

Local independent Councillor ­Noeleen Reilly said: "It's a real problem on that side of Ballymun. The cameras are being targeted consistently and that one in Whiteacre is only after being replaced.

"They cost thousands to fix, ­depending on the type of ­damage done. Sometimes the bulb is smashed, sometime the wires are targeted and sometime the poles are targeted altogether.

"There are drug dealers living down there and they are consistently getting people to target the cameras. They obviously don't want people to see what they're at - but the dogs on the street know what they're at."

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She said the council can't put ­anti-climbing grease on the poles for fear of being sued.

"The ironic thing is the council has to be very careful about what goes on poles because the next thing is someone will be making a claim," she said.

She said locals are fed up of drug dealers in the area.

"To a certain extent a lot of them are seeing no consequences for their actions so they think they can do what they want.

"The vast majority of people up there are decent and just want to get on with their lives. These just make people's lives a misery. They're using vulnerable people and they're ­using their homes to store drugs as well.

"It's a whole operation where it's very ­difficult to catch the main instigators."

She said the dealers are taking money out of the community as the council has to spend so much replacing cameras.

"And there are ­community groups improving the area and that's where the money should be used.

"You're probably talking about hundreds of ­thousands on repairing cameras since the start of regeneration," she said.

Crack cocaine continues to be a major problem in the area and gardaí carried out a series of raids in Ballymun during the week as part of operations against the dealers.

"We haven't got a handle on the crack epidemic and I think we're still in denial," said Councillor Reilly.

She said the drug had a firm grip in the community and young people are constantly being groomed by the gangs to work as their foot soldiers.

"It's child abuse in many ways. They're grooming them into it. In the first few weeks they're thrown a lot of money and then they're told they owe money and have to store stuff and they're putting their own families at risk."

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