THERE are fears a family-friendly street is being blighted by drug use and dealing.

Residents in Westbourne Street in Hove have reported incidents to the police, and have called for more action to crack down on the problem.

They say drugs gangs have moved in, and dealing has become rife.

They said on one Sunday in July users were openly injecting drugs in the street in the middle of the afternoon.

One resident said: “I have lived here for more than ten years, and Westbourne Street is a quiet, one way street with a friendly pub, children on scooters and bikes, and an elderly residents’ home.

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“But now I always see dealing and taking. Last week it really became noticeable with groups of six or seven dodgy looking people.

“You get used to seeing people like that in West Street or outside Churchill Square, but here they stick out like a sore thumb. They have been swearing and screaming, meeting customers and moving around with impunity.

“It was so blatant. They are shouting, showing off a selection of phones, and you can see them either shooting up or smoking crack.

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Westbourne Street, Hove

“At one point we watched as a woman took drugs in the doorway of a neighbour’s house, a neighbour with young children.

“Several of us called the police. I was told it was not an emergency and had to wait for 45 minutes. They are being selective, but it was a Sunday lunchtime.”

He said that he has become so fearful that he has told his ten-year-old daughter not to answer the door, and fears what may happen if someone confronts the drugs gangs gathering in the street.

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The resident added: “While I appreciate that the police are busy, there were multiple calls made in a defined area.

“There was drug dealing and threatening behaviour in the process of happening all day, yet there was no response.”

Temporary Superintendent Rachel Swinney said: “We continue to take action on concerns over drug dealing in the Westbourne Street and Portland Road areas in Hove.

"We’re grateful to the local community for their ongoing assistance in tackling this issue and would like to assure them that the information we receive from the public plays a vital role in building clearer pictures of what’s going on in these areas to help us to locate and identify suspects.”

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Temporary Superintendent Rachel Swinney

Arrests were made earlier this month, but Ms Swinney said work must continue.

A 21-year-old suspect was charged with two counts of possession of class A drugs with intent to supply and was remanded in custody after an arrest on July 10.

Two men aged 37 and 38 were arrested in nearby Portland Road on July 15 on suspicion of drug dealing.

Read more on this story: Arrests made over drug deals in Westbourne Street and Portland Road, Hove

Ms Swinney added: “Officers regularly patrol this area to monitor any suspicious activity and respond to anti-social behaviour or any other offences identified.

“It is really important that the public contact us with any information or concerns, our priority is keeping communities safe and feeling safe. You can contact us either online or by calling 101.”