USERS of so-called legal highs who are blighting Wrexham Bus Station should be given help.
Travellers waiting at the King Street interchange admitted the coverage of the drugs problem – fuelled by social media pictures of ‘addicts’ said to be feeling the effects of substances – will have a detrimental effect on Wrexham’s image.
But some were quick to strike a cautious note and felt the town is not unlike others with similar problems and they have been exaggerated. They say there is a need to offer support to people if they get caught up in using now illegal pyschoactive drugs like ‘Black Mamba’ or ‘Spice’.
Above: An images of life in Wrexham used across the national media this week and, the bus station users interviewed are, clockwise from top left: Terry Jones, David Cockcroft, Peter Jones, Karla Dawson and Janet Whilding.
David Cockroft, 23, of Hightown, says he has seen people laid out the worse for wear in the station, while he has also spotted addicts using the toilets of a fast food diner in the town centre.
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“The coverage looks quite exaggerated and it’s been blown up to put it in the spotlight, but I’ve seen it a lot around here – it’s a recurring issue. I’ve seen people collapsed, but I’ve not seen needles or things like that,” he said.
“It will be illegal when they find out the damage this will do. But that won’t make much difference.
Wrexham bus station
“There are things like cocaine, heroin and M-CAT and if they want to get high they will find a way of getting high.”
Peter Jump, 68, from Froncysyllte, points to a problem with anti-social behaviour in and around the bus station since it was redeveloped 14 years ago.
“I’ve been here in the evenings and you see all sorts. It’s been a problem since the new bus station first opened. I think the security is too lax. I’m told there is a soup kitchen near King Street and it attracts these people,” he claimed.
“This is bad publicity really and it doesn’t do Wrexham any good at all.”
Mother-of-one Karla Dawson, 25, from Wrexham, said: “It’s scary for my daughter, who is only two, which is why I don’t like coming here.
“It worries me and I try to get in and out of town as quickly as I can. But this is everywhere and it is an issue in other places and not just here.”
In the meantime security appears to have been stepped up at the council-owned bus station, even before the drug claims storm.
Terry Jones, 62, of Rhosddu, noted: “I’ve seen two WPCs today and the council has a security person on duty here regularly. They’re on top of it and doing what they can.
“You can tell these people are out of it. But they could do with help to get them fixed up with a homeless property.
“Maybe they’ve had a bad run in life? On a cold day they’re looking for shelter – it is a sign they want help.”
Others were not too sure and were convinced that a ‘drugs scene’ appeared to be going unchecked. One station worker claimed nearby Lord Street had been dubbed ‘Mamba Street’ by locals.
And two homeless men, who were sitting on the bench in front of the Trinity Presbyterian Church on the corner of King Street, said they were steering clear of “troublemakers”.
Back at the bus station, Dennis Large, 79, from Wrexham, said: “I’ve never seen Wrexham go downhill as much as it has in the last 10 years. They were all about Queen Street this morning and the language was terrible. The police walked by without saying a word to them.
“There’s definitely a problem in the bus station and you often see them on Lambpit Street drinking cans from bin liners.”
Janet Whilding, 54, of Coedpoeth, said: “It is terrible, it puts the town in a bad light. There is a problem here in Wrexham, but other towns have the same problem.”
And Darren Hopson, 37, of Wrexham, revealed: “I went to sign on and there were three of them down near the train station and one was injecting into his leg.
“They use public toilets and find phone boxes to do their deals so they can’t be picked up by CCTV.”