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Call for Belfast City Hall security to be increased after heroin addict is seen ‘shooting up’ in iconic building

  • Call for Belfast City Hall security to be increased after heroin addict is seen ‘shooting up’ in iconic building

    Fears are growing that Belfast City Hall is becoming a hub for illicit drugs activity after it was claimed a heroin addict was seen shooting up in a toilet.

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Fears are growing that Belfast City Hall is becoming a hub for illicit drugs activity after it was claimed a heroin addict was seen shooting up in a toilet. A council employee said they then saw the man fleeing half-naked in full view of tourists and visitors shortly before lunchtime on Tuesday.

Belfast City Council admitted that drug-taking paraphernalia was found in the City Hall toilets, while sources have told the Belfast Telegraph that drugs are a huge problem in the landmark building. The upsurge in illegal activity has coincided with a hike in visitor numbers, particularly with the exhibition centre in the west wing attracting more people through its doors.

There are plenty of hidey-holes for drug addicts to make use of, a City Hall insider told this newspaper.

There s also a daily and nightly gathering of drugs users at the Cenotaph. The eyewitness, who asked to remain anonymous, said they saw the man taking heroin before running out of the toilets on the ground floor of City Hall near the main entrance with his trousers hanging off him and no top on .

The shooting-up incident happened a day after a man in his 30s died from a suspected overdose in the toilets of a KFC restaurant in north Belfast. High Sheriff of Belfast Tom Haire revealed that he has had people removed from the Cenotaph for drinking alcohol, and called for increased security and more cameras at City Hall.

With increasing numbers of people around and in light of recent terror attacks in England, we need to bolster security both inside and outside the grounds, he said.

Our security staff do an excellent job, but we need more manpower, and although there already is CCTV in City Hall, we could do with bringing more cameras in. Mr Haire said he was familiar with problems of people gathering at the Cenotaph and said he was in favour of closing it off to the public.

My office overlooks the Cenotaph and I actually had to call security to ask them to remove half-a-dozen people drinking alcohol there, he said.

The DUP politician also said there should be a review of public toilet provision in the area because City Hall is often the first port of call for people who have no business being there . Councillor Jim Rodgers said he was becoming increasingly concerned about the city s drugs problem and he backed calls for security to be beefed up.

I ve had many complaints about people taking drugs not just within City Hall itself, but in the grounds as well and there has been a rise in the number of people using the loos to take drugs, said the Ulster Unionist.

Drugs is a major problem and we must do everything we can to address it.

I certainly don t want someone to be found dead from an overdose on council premises or anywhere else. UUP colleague Jeff Dudgeon said the incident was the downside of City Hall being widely open to the public.

There is a problem with heroin in the city and drugs misuse generally, he said.

We have significant security at City Hall, but you can t stand over everyone walking in and out.

Councillor Tommy Sandford said the unfortunate incident was something that every one of us should be worried about .

Hopefully it s a one-off . I m just sorry that it happened at all, he added. Belfast City Council said there was no attempt to pursue or apprehend anyone, and the identity of the person or persons involved is not known to us .

We can confirm that drug-taking paraphernalia recently was found in the City Hall toilets, it added.

However, it is inaccurate to say that a person was disturbed in the act of injecting drugs.

We are liaising closely with the PSNI and will continue to do so . There have been occasional discoveries of drugs paraphernalia in the grounds, including the Cenotaph area, but we would stress these finds are occasional.

In all such matters, we liaise closely with the PSNI . The grounds are monitored by CCTV and we also employ a contracted security company to patrol the grounds.

Belfast Telegraph


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Armed officers out in force as security tightened at Hampden Scotland-England match

FOOTBALL supporters mingled with armed cops at Hampden as police threw up a ring of steel around the national stadium.

Glasgow was on high alert with increased security measures for yesterday s World Cup qualifier between Scotland and England. A police helicopter circled overhead as fans made their way to the game, while armed police were stationed outside the stadium. Police could also be spotted on the roof of Hampden keeping a watchful eye from vantage points.

Armed Officers Out In Force As Security Tightened At Hampden Scotland-England MatchPre match during the 2018 World Cup Final qualifications at Hampden Park (Chris Austin)

Fans were searched at outer cordons surrounding the stadium to ensure only ticket holders were in the immediate area. Supporters had been urged to arrive early to allow time for additional bag checks. Security messages broadcast at train stations asking people to be vigilant of anything suspicious held greater significance following the terror attacks in London and Manchester.

Meanwhile, electronic boards warned passengers to expect extra security checks and an alcohol ban ahead of the clash, which ended in a 2-2 draw. British Transport Police Chief John McBride had said there would be a zero tolerance approach towards any anti-social or criminal behaviour. He said: Our policing operation will stretch the breadth of the nation and will involve a large number of officers.

Ahead of the Group F game, raging Scotland yobs took to Facebook to taunt England fans and issue vicious threats of violence but thankfully, there was no sign of trouble around the stadium before kick-off and fans welcomed the additional security. Scotland supporter James Bruce, 32, from Edinburgh said: Security is obviously heavier than you would expect, but given what s happened, it s understandable. England fan Terry Moore, 49, from Essex, said: There s a considerable police presence.

It s understandable . There s the usual football issues and the over and above security issues at the moment.

Meanwhile, Londoners last night demonstrated their resilience, unity and defiance one week on from the London Bridge terror attack by enjoying their Saturday night in the capital. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said one of the greatest things about the capital is how we pull together in the face of adversity . The mayor said: London is open . Our resilience, unity and defiance of those evil individuals who seek to harm us and destroy our way of life will never change.

As we mark one week on from the appalling attack, we are coming together to raise money for the victims and their families.

I urge all Londoners to do what they can to support this appeal and show the world that we are city that will never be divided or cowed by terrorism.

His comments came as a police officer gave a grim and disturbing account of arriving at the bridge. Inspector Jim Cole, one of the first officers to respond to Borough Market, said: From updates on the radio, we were aware that people had got out the van and were attacking people in the market.

But we didn t know if they were armed, how many there were, or what the situation was. He and his team managed to get around 200 people to the safety of a pub cellar.

People coming running out of the market were in a state of panic lots of screaming, Mr Cole said.

So I literally just grabbed hold of as many as we could and directed them into the basement of the bar .

I felt that was as reasonably safe a place as we had at that moment, rather than roaming the streets. He said he could hear his colleagues over the radio in quite a state of distress as they desperately called for ambulances.

On the radio, I could hear officers up at London Bridge and outside the Mudlark who were doing CPR and they were calling for ambulances urgently, he said.

I would describe it as pandemonium, really. The married father-of-three said the incident was the worst he has seen in 18 years as a policeman.

I ve dealt with things over the years, but it was the sheer scale of it all, he added .

I think I just went into autopilot. It has emerged the murderers tried to hire a 7.7 ton truck to enhance their killing spree but ringleader Khuram Butt s payment was declined. Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, also armed themselves with pink ceramic 6 supermarket bought knives.

Security barriers installed at London bridges after terror attack killed seven and injured 48

Barriers are being installed on London’s bridges in response to recent terror attacks. Three jihadists in a van ploughed into pedestrians on London Bridge on Saturday night before leaping out and stabbing people. In March, Khalid Masood1 , 52, drove at pedestrians on Westminster Bridge killing four of them and injuring 50.

There had been calls after that attack for extra security measures on London’s bridges. But council officials had declined to install barriers. Just 24 hours before Saturday’s bloodbath, the City of London Corporation said there were no current plans to install bollards on the historic structure on Friday.

But last night Transport for London confirmed security barriers were being installed at Waterloo, Westminster and London bridges. On twitter, TfL said they were expected to be in place by 4.30am on Monday.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Theresa May visited some of the 48 people taken to hospitals across the capital after the attack. A rest centre was also set up at London South Bank University where volunteers from the British Red Cross helped those affected, Southwark Council said.

Among the injured are:

  • A British Transport Police (BTP) officer and an off-duty Metropolitan Police officer are in hospital with serious injuries but neither are believed to be in a life-threatening condition, Scotland Yard said . The BTP officer, who was on duty, was one of the first at the scene after he responded to calls for help from the public, the force said . He suffered serious injuries when he was stabbed in the face, head and leg, wounds which BTP said are not thought to be life-threatening.

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  • New Zealander Oliver Dowling is reported to have been left in a coma after being stabbed in the face, neck and stomach . Mr Dowling, 32, from Christchurch, is said to have had four hours of surgery for his injuries and is in an induced coma . His girlfriend, Marie Bondeville, was also injured.

  • Sunday Express business editor Geoff Ho was left in intensive care after being stabbed in the throat when he tried to help a wounded bouncer.

  • Two Australians were stabbed in the neck while a third was also injured in the attack, according to the country’s foreign minister . Candice Hedge is recovering in St Thomas’ Hospital, while Andrew Morrison received stitches for a wound and was on his way home to Australia . The government is still making inquiries into the third Australian’s condition.

Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer for England and Sir Bruce Keogh, national medical director for NHS England, issued a joint statement, saying that – as with the Westminster Bridge and Manchester attacks – “on each occasion we have seen both the worst and the best of humanity”. It said: “Last night, once again, the NHS and other emergency services reacted swiftly and heroically, going towards the danger to help the injured.

“Tried and tested emergency plans were activated, with London Ambulance Service on the scene within six minutes . NHS staff across the capital have also volunteered to work extra shifts and through the night to help the emergency response.”

“As the medical director and chief nurse of the NHS in England we would like to put on record our gratitude and thanks to everyone for their tireless efforts and commitment in what has been a very difficult period.”

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: “The NHS has again shown that we are ready and able to respond to such attacks, thanks to the professionalism and bravery of our staff.

“While so far there has been minimal wider impact on services overall, we continue to keep the situation under close review as events unfold, and ask people in the capital to continue to use NHS services wisely.”


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