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UK: Drugs trade continues to flourish

Times Online, UK, July 31, 2006

Britain is one of the most lucrative markets for cocaine, heroin and ecstasy, according to the agency tackling drug gangs. The first UK threat assessment by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) — Britain’s “FBI” — says that, despite work by police and customs and promises by ministers, the trade is flourishing.

The report says: “Despite many tonnes of Class A drugs being prevented from reaching the UK, arrests and seizures have achieved short-term disruptions rather than a sustained reduction in the size of the UK drugs market.”

Soca says: “The profits to be made from drugs are a critical factor in the success and spread of serious organised crime, enabling more drugs to be brought, funding other forms of crime.”

Soca says that up to 35 tonnes of heroin are brought into the UK each year. Supply is so plentiful that street prices have dropped from £70 to £54 a gram in the past five years.

Cocaine has dropped from £65 to £49 in the same period. 

Ecstasy sells for £4 a dose, which is a drop of more than 50 per cent in five years from £9 in 2000.