Drugs violence forces Dutch mayor underground
Fons Jacobs, mayor of Helmond in the south of the Netherlands, has gone into hiding because of threats to himself and his family. He is under police protection and his duties have been taken over by his deputy Frans Stienen. The council says the threats are to do with drugs violence in Helmond and neighbouring Eindhoven.
Organised crime There has been a recent spate of violent incidents in Eindhoven and Mayor Rob van Gijzel says the trouble is connected with organised crime linked to the Dutch production of cannabis.
In the Netherlands, outlets called ‘cofeeshops’ are allowed to sell small amounts of cannabis to the public. However, under a Dutch legal fudge, the production of the drug remains illegal and the ‘coffeeshops’ are forced to buy their stocks of marijuana from criminal growers.
Hand grenades A ‘coffeeshop’ in Helmond has been the target of recent attacks which included two hand grenades being thrown at the premises. Helmond and Eindhoven councils are calling for an investigation into local drugs-related crime.
Mr Van Gijzel says most illegally grown Dutch cannabis is stored in the region, southeast Brabant. The stocks provide marijuana for ‘coffeeshops’ throughout the country. He wants police reinforcements to be deployed locally to prevent the situation from getting out of hand.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide