herald

Monday 5 December 2016

Undercover gardai to patrol Electric Picnic amid fears over deadly drugs powder

The main stage at Electric Picnic in Stradbally this weekend
The main stage at Electric Picnic in Stradbally this weekend

Revellers attending this weekend's Electric Picnic are being warned about dodgy pills and a lethal powder substance that have been doing the rounds at festivals.

A senior source told the Herald last night that teams of undercover gardai will be active at the festival and a "zero tolerance" approach will be taken to drug use.

They issued a warning about a powder which has caused a number of festival goers to be hospitalised in the UK.

"While there is particular concern about this powder, there are also dodgy pills out there," they said.

"Gardai are closely monitoring this situation on a national level and the activities of drug dealers are being closely monitored across the country in terms of drugs being brought to this event.

"Local gardai are being helped out by the specialist units who will be working undercover to carry out test purchases in relation to drugs transactions.

"While there will be a zero tolerance approach for drug dealing, people should have no fears about seeking medical assistance if anyone becomes ill in relation to taking any substances."

"This is a very well organised event, organised every year, and gardai will be doing everything that they can to ensure that there are no drug-related fatalities at the event this year," the source added.

There is expected to be about 120 gardai on duty each day from today through to Monday, with extra officers brought in from Co Kildare and other counties.

At previous Electric Picnic events, there have been around 200 drug detections by gardai at each festival.

Last month, gardai warned that music fans should be on the lookout for counterfeit tickets.

Separately, 10 people were arrested for theft at the last major event of the summer which attracted a 41,000-strong crowd last year.

Thefts

Gardai say that people should avoid bringing "high value" goods to the event if possible.

Last year, festival organiser Melvin Benn said the number of thefts was worrying but that they were inevitable at a festival the size of Electric Picnic.

"Between the security teams and the guards, they've managed to catch a number of people that have been involved in thefts," he said. "They've also been successful in retrieving a large amount of things that had been stolen."

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