The Llanelli Star’s scoop interview with a chief constable who admitted he would like to shoot international drug barons was followed up widely in the national press.
The Star, running a campaign to remove drug paraphernalia from the streets after it discovered 12-year-olds were being offered heroin in the Welsh town, had asked for comments from Dyfed Powys Chief Constable Terry Grange.
Grange made his views forcefully, saying: “What I would like to say to them is: ‘If you would be so kind as to stand up against that wall for a minute.’ Then I would be shouting: ‘Load, aim, fire.’ Personally, I would shoot.”
The exclusive ran on the front page of the Star on Thursday, 13 February, and then as page leads in the Daily Mirror and The Sun, on the front page of the Western Mail, and elsewhere in the national press and on radio stations on Friday. It was written by Allison Thomas-Mears, who became a reporter only a month ago, after spending six years at the paper as a front office receptionist. It was her front page lead the previous week, headlined “Heroin – has your 12-year-old bought some?” which inspired the Star’s anti-drugs campaign.
Since editor Andy Pearson arrived at the Star three months ago, he has been determined to raise the paper’s profile by going to the top people on local issues. Securing the Grange interview also led to the chief constable backing the Star’s campaign.
Since the Star hit the streets, responses from readers have been flooding in. This week Pearson is planning a poster front page with a 12-year-old backing the campaign.
By Jean Morgan