People living in Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham have reacted furiously to suggestions made by a UN chief that their cities are losing the war on drugs.
Professor Hamid Ghodse, president of the United Nations' International Narcotics Control Board, caused a storm after he claimed in an official report that the three English cities had no-go areas ruled by ruthless drug overlords.
He compared the UK cities to urban areas suffering 'social disintegration' in Mexico and Brazil - where public figures and rivals are murdered almost every day by drug barons.
He said: "Drug traffickers, organised crime, drug users, they take over. They will get the sort of governance of those areas.
"Examples are in Brazil, Mexico, in the United States in the UK: Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester - and therefore it is no good to have only law enforcement, which always shows it does not succeed."
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But Labour councillors in Liverpool have labelled the claims "a load of c**p".
Cllr Martin Cummins said: "It's absolutely ridiculous to suggest that Croxteth may be a no-go area.
"To even compare it to the extreme conditions in Mexico and Brazil is absurd.
"I don't know who this UN professor is but I would be happy to
meet him to show what a vibrant community Croxteth is - the chances are
he has never been here."
Labour councillor Brian Dowling told The Mirror: "The issues here are no different than any other major city in the world.
"The UN report is a load of c**p - there is no such thing as a no-go area in Liverpool."
The reaction was equally scathing in Manchester. Tony Lloyd, MP for Manchester Central, said: "His comments trash the city's reputation and cause immense damage, especially to the inner-city areas of Manchester."
And in Birmingham Umar Akmal, 60, a resident from the Newtown area of the city, said: “You don’t get drugs gangs roving the streets, it’s just not like that. Whoever wrote this report has obviously never been to Birmingham.”