A SADDLEWORTH village which has become a magnet for night time revellers is to be the focus of a major anti-drugs and anti-social behaviour initiative.
There has been a steady increase in the number of visitors boosting the night-time economy in Uppermill.
But now Operation Sandstorm, which is targeting drugs and anti-social behaviour and has been running across Oldham for a number of years, launches across all the villages on Friday, November 25.
The operation runs right through to the Christmas period and has been put in place by the Saddleworth neighbourhood Policing team in answer to an increase in drug related incidents.
Sergeant Neil Barker of the Saddleworth Policing team, said: “What we are not saying here is that Saddleworth has a major drug epidemic but we are seeing subtle changes.
“New faces re-attending from as far away as Salford, Wigan, and Stockport mainly into the Uppermill village each weekend.
“It is apparent that a small minority of people attending the pubs and bars in Saddleworth are also using controlled drugs.
“Through visits to pubs and bars it is apparent that not only cannabis possession is an issue but harder drugs such as cocaine now features with a number of establishments recently showing traces of cocaine when tested.”
He added: “Uppermill and the wider Saddleworth area is not unique here. However, we want to shine a light on this area of our police work.
“We not only reassure the local community but to send out a clear message that we have a Zero Tolerance Zone in Saddleworth: no drugs, no ASB, no excuses.
“If we have people brought to our attention then they will not only be banned from one establishment but under the Pub Watch Scheme they will be banned from all establishments across Oldham.”
On the launch weekend, police will be using a mobile station parked on the Saddleworth museum car park encouraging locals to meet the team and collect information leaflets.
A social media campaign will run alongside the initiative with the hashtag #ZTTD&ASB zero tolerance to drugs and anti-social behaviour.