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Gotcha! Cocaine users caught in town centre police op

Revellers turned away from bar after failing drug swab test

John Garvey

John Garvey


01635 886628

Walkabout withdraws late licensing bid

EIGHT people were turned away from a popular Newbury town centre pub after testing positive for drugs.

Thames Valley Police conducted a ‘swab’ test on Saturday evening at the Walkabout bar in Cheap Street.

Using the swabs, police can tell within seconds if someone has used cocaine.

After taking cocaine, people produce two different chemicals as they metabolise the drug and these substances are present in their sweat.

Hand-washing does not prevent detection.

Thames Valley Police spokeswoman Louisa Maher said: “A licensing operation took place in Newbury on Saturday in partnership with Walkabout in Newbury.

“This involved a condition of entry whereby customers hands were tested for drugs residue, resulting in eight people being refused access to the premises.”

She added: “This was a trial operation – there is an intention of rolling these checks out to other establishments to deter the use of drugs in the town as a whole.”

More than 200 drugs wipes were completed and 14 people were searched, but no arrests were made.

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Article comments

  • Waggy

    05/11/2019 - 11:29

    I think while this sounds like a great idea on the Surface there are several obvious issues 1) How would you feel being randomly selected for a 'Drug Test' on your night out with family and friends? Similar to Police turning up and searching your home with no reasonable suspicion - They get around this by calling it an 'Operation' 2) We hear all the time how short the police are of resources and what were the results here - No Arrests and Nothing found 3) These tests can be very inaccurate - Its a known fact that many bank notes, door handles etc can have traces of drugs which would show up even if you didn't 'Use Anything' I remember they did similar random testing in Sweden years back and sent a large number to jail even though they didn't possess anything - They abandoned the 'Experiment' as a disaster that achieved nothing. Looking at the current state of our Beloved town we need to encourage people to go out and use it not discourage them!


    • __Andy__

      05/11/2019 - 19:19

      Fully agree. The headline 'Gotcha' is very misleading. No one was arrested. Police could be posted elsewhere-and bouncers could be doing the checks if they want to keep cokeheads out of the premises (were the bouncers swabbed I wonder)