South Yorkshire houses searched in hunt for worrying ‘party drug’

Police raid in Thurcroft  (w120718-13c)
Police raid in Thurcroft (w120718-13c)
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POLICE have raided more than 40 homes across Rotherham searching for the dangerous ‘party drug’ mephedrone.

Officers have searched houses in Maltby, Dinnington and Thurcroft and seized £7,000 worth of mephedrone, and £20,000 in cash as well as cannabis, cocaine, amphetamines and ketamine.

Acting Det Sgt Jamie Henderson, from South Yorkshire Police, said mephedrone - also known as ‘meow-meow’ or ‘M-cat’ - is becoming an increasing problem in Rotherham.

He added the force has started Operation Cactus specifically to target the use and supply of the drug.

In their latest raid, officers discovered six cannabis plants, with a potential street value of £3,000, under the stairs of a house in Thurcroft.

They also found a rifle, machete and baseball bats.

A 27-year-old was arrested on possession of Class A and Class B drugs and production of cannabis, before being released on bail pending further inquiries.

At a family home in Maltby traces of methedrone, similar to M-cat, were discovered.

Acting DS Henderson said: “M-cat is what’s causing us problems at the moment - people just don’t realise how messed up it makes them. One of the concerning features is that once users have started using the drug in a particular session, it is often very hard to stop, with compulsive use leading to violence, insomnia and hallucinations.”

And he said increasing use has led to a rise in drug-related violence, acquisitive crime and anti-social behaviour.

“There have been a number of recent serious offences,” said Acting DS Henderson.

“It is vitally important the community and the police work together to beat this type of crime. Every piece of intelligence received is taken seriously and acted upon.”

Mephedrone was outlawed in 2010 after becoming popular as a ‘legal high’. Police say its easy availability makes the drug attractive to users - at around £10 to £15 a gram, it is less expensive than a large bottle of vodka and 75 per cent cheaper than cocaine.