Police in Limavady are investigating a report by a 10-year-old girl that she was offered drugs.
The shocking incident reportedly happened in an entry way in Glenmill Walk in Limavady last Thursday, shortly before 5pm.
The primary school student, who is too scared to be named, said a male approached her and her three friends.
“He walked towards us and asked, ‘do you want to buy a bag of blow?” said the girl. “He had two plastic bags - a big one and a smaller one - and a box of yellow tablets. I said, ‘naw, I don’t take drugs’, and he said, ‘why not?’. I said, ‘I’m only 10’.”
The girl said the man persisted, asking if she could ‘gather up £40, and I’ll give you an ounce”.
“I didn’t know what to do. I just said ‘I don’t take drugs, I already told you that’, and then he asked if my mammy or daddy had £40, and I said they don’t take drugs.”
The girl said the man left after receiving a phone call.
“He said, ‘right boys, I need to go because I have a whole lot of gear on me’,” said the girl. The youngster said she told her mum immediately about what happened, and the matter was subsequently reported to police.
Asked how the incident made her feel, the girl said “disgusted and scared”.
The girl’s mum said while this was the first time such an incident happened, she felt she should speak out to warn other parents to be vigilant.
“It’s absolutely disgusting that a 10-year-old can’t go out to play without being offered drugs. He didn’t care about the damage he could do. He offered drugs knowing the danger they can do, but he didn’t care. What if one of those children had of taken a tablet? It’s frightening,” she said. “I drum it into her steady about drugs, and to say ‘no’. She is smart enough to know. I would urge other parents to be wary and really teach their children about the dangers of drugs. It can never be said often enough.”
A Glens Community Association spokesperson said: “We are alarmed when a stranger comes in with that quantity of drugs and offers it to children. We’ve run a number of awareness programmes about the dangers of drugs and we’ll continue to that. We don’t want to scaremonger. but parents need to be aware this has happened.”
PSNI Chief Inspector Mark McClarence said “trying to sell drugs to a child is a deplorable act”.
“It is difficult to understand the mind-set of someone who would cynically try to exploit a vulnerable young person,” said Chief Insp. McClarence. “It is fortunate that the young girl in this incident was aware of what was happening, and was clear and forthright in saying ‘no’. This episode underlines the importance of bringing an end to the pernicious trade in illegal drugs. We are determined to tackle this trade within the framework of the justice system. We believe we have the support of the community in Limavady to do so.”
Chief Insp. McClarence urged parents and adults to teach their children what to do if a stranger approaches and tries to engage them in conversation - to immediately walk away and tell an appropriate adult.
Police are appealing for anyone who may have information about the incident to contact them.