DRUG-DEALERS are taking a leaf out of coffee shops by dispensing loyalty cards, offering free cocaine to keep their lucrative, middle-class buyers hooked.
The “loyal-t” scheme mirrors deals offered by coffee chains, which gives wealthy customers their sixth and 12th purchases free.
The wraps, which cost up to £100 each, are then delivered to homes or offices by couriers, who stamp their loyalty cards when the cash is handed over.
This so-called “culture of excess” is being blamed for escalating violence on city streets across the UK.
The loyalty card reads: “One freebie for every five stamps that you collect” and uses a smiley-face image from the 1980s, suggesting dealers are hoping to appeal to middle-aged clients.
Harry Shapiro, of DrugWise, an online, drug information service, told the Daily Telegraph: “The level of competition on the street means they have to offer an incentive to get their customers to stay with the one dealer.
“But this card also shows how there are two, very different ends of the drug-dealing spectrum. At the one end, there is an offer of a modicum of support to the buyer. But, at the other end, they are trying to beat the competition, and that competition results in violence on the streets.”
Last week, Labour MP David Lammy said the “Deliveroo-style” drugs culture had driven soaring rates of young people being murdered in London.
“Buying cocaine is now as easy as ordering a pizza, and this drug trade is increasing violent crime on London’s streets,” he added.
He believes the trade has created a cocaine industry worth £11bn, which has bred gang rivalry and wars over territory.
The Tottenham MP said he knew from police that Eastern European and Albanian gangs were trafficking drugs, guns and people, and that police had “lost control” of the drugs market.
Politicians, including London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Home Secretary Amber Rudd, had failed to show interest, he said.
‘I’ve had four deaths in the London Borough of Haringey since January, I’ve had as many knife attacks as there have been weeks in the year,’ he said.
“There are parents, friends, families and schools traumatised and grieving, and there is absolutely no sign, at the moment, of a reduction in the violence.”
He stressed: “I’ve been an MP now for 18 years, and I’m afraid that what we’re seeing today is the worst I’ve ever seen it.”
But Ms Rudd is ready to order websites such as YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram to do more about shutting down content promoting violence and knife crime.
The National Crime Agency disclosed last month that some 819 British citizens were flagged as possible victims of slavery last year, two-thirds of them aged under 18.
Many are thought to have been exploited by drug-dealing networks, which use children and vulnerable people as couriers to move drugs and cash to rural or coastal towns, to sell heroin and crack cocaine.
Lammy said: “We are the drugs market of Europe and I think the police and our country has lost control of that drugs market.
“You have young children, as young as 12 or 13, being recruited into gangs to run drugs across county lines. Drugs are prolific. It’s like Deliveroo… they’re as prolific as ordering a pizza.”
The Home Office identifies the “devastating” impact of crack cocaine as a key driver of the street violence.
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