Devon store owner Lesley Brown is asking for other retailers’ advice on dealing with drug addicts in her store and the surrounding community.

Lesley told C-Store: “Here in Barnstaple we seem to have had a big influx of drug dealers who are causing misery for the community.

“Their customers come to the shop in the hope that they can shoplift the items they want. Kitchen foil used to be our most stolen item until we moved it nearer the counter.

“This is something that has been affecting us for the past few months and no one seems to be discussing it.”

Lesley said her staff had been threatened by “stroppy, aggressive individuals” wanting alcohol before permitted hours. She said police had raided local houses on three occasions, but that the dealers were bailed and back in business just a few hours later.

“How do other retailers deal with this type of problem?” she asks. “I have the additional problem of being a local councillor and the unhappy residents expect me to get the problem sorted out.”