A NEWBURY police officer has issued a warning to West Berkshire residents to remain vigilant during the ongoing battle with dealers from outside the area supplying drugs in Newbury.
The warning comes after 19-year-old Bernard Ampaw was sentenced to life in prison for a murder committed just months after he was arrested in Greenham on drug offences.
PC Chris Eaton, based at Newbury Police Station, said that many drug dealers see the areas surrounding the capital as ‘easy pickings’ and are recruiting addicts in the area as suppliers.
He said: “London drug gangs are sending drug runners to Newbury and Thatcham to take advantage of the local addicts and vulnerable individuals.
“They coerce them with drugs, threats of violence and money to sell Class A drugs.”
Ampaw, from Telford, was arrested in January 2014 for possession with intent to supply, following a drugs warrant at an address in Greenham.
Officers recovered a large quantity of Class A drugs during the raid, as well as a large kitchen knife and some cash.
However, appearing before a judge at Chelmsford Crown Court last week, Ampaw was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of 31-year-old Francis Nsiangangu in September 2014.
The trial had heard how Ampaw and his accomplice Clive Mundoma, also 19, had contacted Mr Nsiangangu to arrange to buy cannabis.
But when the three met, Ampaw and Mundoma instead ordered him to hand over his drugs and cash.
When Mr Nsiangangu refused and tried to get away he was stabbed twice by Ampaw, one of which penetrated the heart.
Ampaw was sentenced to life with a minimum of 25 years for the murder and robbery of Mr Nsiangangu while Mundoma was found guilty of robbery and was jailed for six years.
PC Eaton said that Thames Valley Police face a continuing battle with dealers such as Ampaw, and says the public can play a part by remaining vigilant.
He continued: “These dealers are nasty individuals, who have been arrested with knives, with a propensity for violence.
“Some have gone on to commit more serious crimes such as murder and robbery.
“We have been very successful in catching these dealers, sending them to prison and seizing their cash.
“We will continue to hunt them down but getting information from the public is vital in helping us rid these vermin from our town.
“Please call police on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 if you suspect drug dealing or if you notice addresses or vehicles getting lots of visitors for short periods of time.”