Friday, September 23, 2011

A Despicable Business

Normally, as readers will have guessed, I always carry a camera but not this morning unfortunately.

I was getting money from the station cashpoint in Westgate when I noticed something unusual happening outside the Piggy Bank nursery. My suspicions were aroused when one of our more vulnerable children in care, who doesn't apparently go to school,  shot across the road on his bicycle, to join a group of pupils from King Ethelberts school, who were involved in some kind of  veiled financial transaction with a man in a yellow hooded tracksuit top.

He appeared to be passing them something in silver paper and money was changing hands. He then went into the newsagent and re-appeared with three packets of SuperKings, more money exchanged hands and the kids went on their way, boys and girls happily smoking their cigarettes and the 'dealer' wandered off towards Beano's cafe, I assume to buy his breakfast with the profits.

I can't express how angry seeing this made me and so I followed him into Beanos and confronted him at the counter there,  politely explaining that this was a criminal offense and that I intended to call the police. Very surprised, he retorted that the kids were his, which was a poor excuse, given his darker appearance and he then made a quick exit, leaving a cafe full of interested onlookers watching.

I did try reporting it to the police but with no answer, I've tweeted and sent an email instead. I can easily identify him if required as can the manager of the newsagent. If I had my camera I could have recorded the whole thing. It may appear to be a minor business but what starts with exploiting our local children with cigarettes and soft drugs invariably leads to more substances as time passes.

I should add that if the police wish to recover the CCTV footage from the shop and outside (08:40) then I'm happy to act as a witness and I would hope the store manager would too as he confirmed the purchase.


Grateful Parent said...

Well done and thank you, Simon. Having a teenage daughter at Ursuline who thinks the Beano Cafe, Westgate is the centre of the universe, I shall be taking a much keener interest here on.

Anonymous said...

I've caught several adults outside The Liquour Locker in Westbrook buying booze & cigarettes for kids, & I've even told the people selling them about it but they couldn't care less.

Anonymous said...

Might be an idea to pass this on to the Head Teachers at Ursuline and King Ethelbert. Somebody bought a bottle of Malibou for my daughters and friends, all 15, in Westgate recently and charged them over the odds for doing so.

Nora Batty said...

Whilst I appreciate that this is a serious matter, and I would like to think I would have had the guts to do the same as you in the circumstances, don't hold your breath waiting for the police to act, they are overstretched at the best of times and I imagine that this event will not figure highly on their list of priorities. Sad world that we live in, a reckless Father, a sign of the times. I refuse to believe that this sort of parenting is unique to Thanet or deprived areas. Where are the truant officers that plagued me as a kid ? Don't they have them anymore ?

Ramsgate Resident said...

Dr M, good luck, but the police should not take any notice of this incident. There are bigger fish to fry.

I've been calling in crack/heroin dealers to the police for the past 4 years and the instigators - the addicts - are still housed and subsidized by the state. Our local MP still doesn't get involved despite numerous attempts at engaging her.

Until the councils - thanet and Kent - stop creating the environment for these people to carry on with their sad pathetic lives, it will continue.

undesirable places to live - ie under a flightpath
House to flat conversion
Any new build flats
Social security payments for disability through addiction

Start to tackle these and you might get somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Ramsgate Resident, can there be any bigger fish than our school children. They are the future but if they are prey to the low life you describe that does not auger well.

Sadly many you describe are beyond help but let's not perpetuate the problem by watching our kids go the same way.

PS Loved the way you managed to work 'under a flight path' into your comment. Is aircraft noise now the cause of social depravation.