Journal, April 29, 2004

Drink and drugs are a “massive problem” in Newmarket and could be responsible for a rise in violent crime and criminal damage in the town centre, according to a local councillor.

Commenting on recent crime figures released at a meeting of the town council on Monday, Cllr Terry Mills, said: “Criminal damage is up and there had been a 30 per cent rise in violence and I would categorise this as being associated with drugs or drink.” Crime figures presented at the meeting by Newmarket police chief Insp Mick Marriott for the year ending last month, showed 437 violent crimes, up from 322 the previous year, and criminal damage up to 383 from 317 last year. Drug arrests were also up to 170 from 79 last year.

“There is a great fear in this town of violence and drug abuse,” said Cllr Mills.

Insp Marriott denied he was complacent about the figures and accepted that in some areas, the police could do more.