ONE of North Yorkshire’s most senior police officers has vowed to take a tough stance on dealers trafficking danger drug mephedrone into the region.

As Home Secretary Alan Johnson began moves to ban the substance after the official drugs watchdog recommended it be made a class B drug, Assistant Chief Constable Sue Cross praised the decision and The Press’s Menace Of Mephedrone campaign, which battled to outlaw the drug.

She said the force would do everything in its power to prevent the sale and use of the drug, which has been linked to numerous deaths across the UK including that of 24-year-old Lois Waters, of Norton.

She said: “We welcome the action by the Government to classify mephedrone as a Class B drug.”

Last Friday, expert Eric Carlin, resigned from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), saying the decision to ban mephedrone had been unduly influenced by media and political pressure.

But Assistant Chief Constable Cross said: “It is also important to praise the role of the media, in particular The Press in York, for highlighting the true seriousness of mephedrone as a matter of considerable national concern.

“With the illegal classification in place, the police will do everything we can to disrupt its sale and bring dealers to justice. “Together with partner agencies, there is also a need to educate people about the very real risks that such substances pose.”

Tim Hollis, the lead on drugs at the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: “Our enforcement will initially concentrate on those people who sell and traffic this harmful drug rather than on the young people who we may find in possession of it. It is not our intention to criminalise young people.”

The Press handed in its Menace Of Mephedrone petition to 10 Downing Street last Monday, only hours before the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs recommended to ministers it should be made a Class B drug.

Those found being in possession of the substance will face up to five years in jail, and dealers will face up to 14 years.