Knockmore stands united to condemn the drug dealers

RESIDENTS in Knockmore held a vigil on Wednesday night to send a message to drug dealers that the community ‘has had enough’.

Residents stood together with local representatives at the event which was organised following a number of drug related incidents in the area.

The vigil came after an outcry in the area when an 18-year-old boy took his own life after being caught up in drugs. Two days later the car belonging to an anti-drugs campaigner was petrol bombed. Then last Thursday night at around 10.20pm a petrol bomb was thrown at a house in the Drumlough Gardens area. It hit a concrete wall and burnt itself out. No damage or injuries were caused.

Assembly member Jonathan Craig who attended the vigil, praised those who took part.

“The entire community of Knockmore and the wider Lisburn area who attended Wednesday night’s vigil have sent a clear united message to leave our children alone” he said. “The entire community are standing strongly together and will not be deterred by the scourge of drugs and those individuals who are preying on our young people and who are destroying their lives.

“It was an important show of support, not just by the community, but by politicians and the PSNI who have put extra resources into dealing with this scourge in Lisburn and have made several arrests and drug finds in recent months.”

Mr Craig continued, “It is now time for the judiciary to step up to the mark and show the community of Knockmore and the wider Lisburn area that when information is given to the PSNI and arrests are made that the courts will deal effectively with those who are selling drugs and who are devastating the lives of so many families.

“This community vigil had one united message, standing together with the PSNI, local politicians and community leaders that the scourge of drugs and those who distribute them, which has devastated so many young lives will not be tolerated and I would urge the whole community in Lisburn who have any information, no matter how small, to pass this on to the PSNI so that together we can stamp out this disease which sadly continues to be a plague on our community.”

Lagan Valley MLA Paul Givan also commended the community for “showing their dignified and determined effort to stand together in the face of intimidation by a small element of criminals engaged in antisocial behaviour within Knockmore estate”.

He said: “I am disgusted by the contempt shown by this antisocial element towards the local community that has been settled for many years, providing a welcoming place for everyone to live together.

“The targeting of individuals who are seeking to protect their children from these people is reprehensible and as the community stand together it is imperative that the police continue to work in the area along with other statutory organisation to rid the community of this scourge.

“That these people feel they can operate with impunity from the police and the courts is alarming and should concern everyone who believes in upholding the rule of law. The trust the community has put into the police must been seen to work and I encourage anyone with information to contact the police and it will then be for them and the Criminal Justice System to demonstrate that it is capable of protecting the local community from this type of activity.”

Anyone with information about any of the recent incidents is asked to contact Lisburn Police Station on 0845 600 8000. Or if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.