'Heroin & Crack Zone' posters pop up across Bristol

Heroin and Crack poster on a junction box in Old Market, Bristol
Heroin and Crack poster on a junction box in Old Market, Bristol -Credit:John Langley

Police and council officials have confirmed posters which proclaim an area of Bristol to be a ‘Crack and Heroin Zone’ are fake - and the council is trying to remove them as soon as they have been put up.

The posters, which include the official logos of both Avon and Somerset police and Bristol City Council, have begun appearing in areas of the inner city, around Old Market, Stokes Croft, St Pauls, St Jude’s and the city centre in the past week or so.

The bright red posters announce a ‘Crack & Heroin Zone’, adding: “The sale & use of Crack & Heroin is permitted in this area.”

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The large posters have been pasted to street furniture, electricity junction boxes, bus stops, construction area panels and walls in the past five days. It is not clear who is behind the professional-looking posters, or whether the motivation is to shame the authorities into doing more to combat drug dealing and use in the areas targeted.

The posters have been turning heads in Bristol, with several examples posted on social media in the past few days. Bristol City Council confirmed the posters are - obviously - not authorised, and council staff have been monitoring social media to respond to reports of the posters, with quick replies to discover where they have been pasted, with a team ready to ‘remove them as soon as possible’.

Bristol has been at the forefront of moves to decriminalise, or at least make safer, the consumption of Class A drugs in recent years. In 2020, Bristol City Council considered the idea of creating a 'safe injection room', but the plan was vetoed by the Government on legal grounds.

In 2021, the first drug consumption space - a refurbished ambulance vehicle - was set up in Bristol after arriving from Scotland, sparking controversy, while the UK's first regular drug checking service, set up in Bristol 12 years ago, recently announced plans to launch a testing site in the city.

And most recently, one of the manifesto pledges from the Green Party heading into the 2024 local council elections - which ended with the Greens two seats short of an overall majority - was to 'explore' the idea of safe drug consumption rooms.