POLICE in Greenock are to use pedal power in a bid to clamp down on drug-dealing which is blighting the town centre.

The Tele recently reported on allegations that crack cocaine was being sold from an address in the middle of town and concerns have been raised about drug dealing activity in the busy area.

Councillor Jim Clocherty spoke out about the issue during a meeting of the police and fire scrutiny committee, remarking that the town was getting 'a reputation' for drug trade.

He said: “Regarding the centre of Greenock, we do still have that anecdotal evidence of low-level drug dealing,.

“The area is getting a wee bit of a reputation.

"I don’t how the police feel, but it does seem like as soon as you close one 'shop', another one opens.”

Chief Inspector Paul Cameron – area commander for Inverclyde - insisted his team were well aware of the situation as he pledged to continue tackling dealers as a top priority, including utilising a novel new approach on two wheels.

The chief inspector said: “There are patrols there [in Greenock town centre] and they will stay there.

“One of the things I am trying out is I’m putting a lot more of the community officers out on bikes, and they will cover a bigger area.

“You will start to see a lot more officers out on cycles, so the visibility will be there and we do have a number of action plans for the centre of Greenock.

"There are always resources there."

In documents presented to the committee, police reported there had been 49 detections of drug supply, production and cultivation recorded between the start of last April and the end of January.

This represented a decrease of almost a fifth compared to the same period the previous year, with seizures including the likes of crack, cannabis, diamorphine and etizolam.

Ch Insp Cameron says that figure is likely to change in the coming weeks, with investigations and toxicology analysis still ongoing in relation to some cases.

He told councillors: “I would exercise caution around the decrease in detections.

"There are a number of items sitting at our labs waiting on analysis.

"It takes times to test these.

"I am confident that 18.3 per cent [decrease] will not be there in the coming weeks.

“We will continue our approach to dealing with drug dealers.

"We’ve had some good results recently and it is high on my agenda to continue in that vein.”