Stamford police inspector's warning over drink and drug use during Easter bank holiday weekend
If you went to prison for six months and lost your job, how would you cope?
This is the question police want people to ask themselves if they are considering drinking alcohol or taking drugs over the Easter weekend.
With many people off work for four days and a forecast of 18C today (Good Friday) and 19C on Saturday and Sunday, Ian Martin, community policing inspector for Stamford, Bourne and The Deepings, is urging people to think about the consequences of their actions.
He said: “Unfortunately we see an increase in public order offences and violence in warm weather, and so we ask people to be sensible and not drink so much that they get themselves into trouble.
“Most people just want to have a good time while they are out, and so we take a very dim view of anyone who spoils that.”
He added that recreational drug use - particularly cannabis and cocaine - is 'higher than people would expect' locally.
"People who take recreational drugs should be aware that there is a victim at some stage," he said.
"The general feeling among middle-class society is that it is OK to take a small amount of drugs, but people need to be aware that it has a knock-on effect and the person they are buying drugs from is ultimately purchasing their supply from organised crime groups."
He added that the main crime groups, funded by drugs money, were often involved in child sexual exploitation - a major crime in which under 18s are coerced into sexual activities in return for drugs or money.
In addition, the organised crime groups have been linked to terrorism, meaning that by purchasing drugs, people are helping to fund killings.
Insp Ian Martin added: "People really should think twice."
"Cannabis is readily accessible but can lead to paranoia as well as addiction for greater drugs, and lots of drugs contain horse tranquilisers, rat poison, and nasty chemicals which by themselves people would not dream of taking.
"It's not an epidemic, but people need to be aware.
"People pick up drugs on Thursday or Friday ready for the weekend, take them, and go back to work. But drugs remain in the system and this can lead to an arrest and driving ban."
Police now routinely drink and drug test drivers, which can reveal the presence of cannabis, cocaine, amphetamines, MDMA (ecstasy) and ketamine long after they have been taken.
Alcohol-related crimes include assaults, public order offences and drink driving, while drug possession carries a fine or prison sentence.
"People need to ask themselves whether they want to fund terrorism and serious crimes against children, and if they want to end up with a criminal record," added Insp Martin.
"There is help available for people who think they would struggle to stop using drugs or alcohol, such as Addaction, and people can also see their GP.
"We would also like people to help us break the drugs supply chain, by talking to us in confidence directly, or giving information anonymously through Crimestoppers."
Call local police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
What sentence could drug-takers receive?
Includes: crack cocaine, cocaine, ecstasy (MDMA), heroin, LSD, magic mushrooms, methadone, methamphetamine (crystal meth).
Possession: up to 7 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.
Includes: amphetamines, barbiturates, cannabis, codeine, ketamine, methylphenidate (Ritalin), synthetic cannabinoids, synthetic cathinones (eg mephedrone, methoxetamine).
Possession: up to 5 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.
Includes: anabolic steroids, benzodiazepines (diazepam), gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), piperazines (BZP).
Possession: up to 2 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.