AN historic part of Colchester has become a hotbed for drug dealing, it has been claimed.

Colchester MP Will Quince has sent a letter to residents living in the famous Dutch Quarter, just off Colchester High Street and near Castle Park.

It was following concerns from residents about noise from the park and a spike in crime.

In his letter, Mr Quince assured residents he would “continue to push these matters with Colchester Council”.

He added: “The Dutch Quarter is used as a cut through at the end of an evening.

“I found an open syringe outside the old Ice nightclub.

“People are buying drugs from the town centre then walking into the Dutch Quarter to either deal or use them.

“It’s due to the fact there is poor lighting and very little CCTV.”

The Ice nightclub in St Helens Lane closed a couple of years ago and has since been used as a shelter for rough sleepers, and more recently, drug users.

Mr Quince also raised the issue of noise after the Steps concert in Castle Park which took place in June.

He said: “I understand re-rigging occurred between the hours of 2am and 4am on the Sunday morning.

“This is unacceptable.

“Residents tell me the organisers were taking everything down in the early hours of the morning, which is not ideal.

“I wanted to see if it was a concern as the park could have conditions put on, for example packing away should only take place the following day.”

Castle ward councillor Darius Laws carried out a litter pick with Mr Quince in the Dutch Quarter.

He found needles used in drug taking and said more patrols by police were needed to deter drug use in the area.

He said: “Not all of the Dutch Quarter is covered by CCTV.

“Historically there has been an argument about there being too many cameras in a residential area, but I think we need to look at it again.

“Unfortunately, there are nooks and crannies where people go to use and deal drugs.”

Mr Laws said a wider issue is the need for increased police patrols in the Dutch Quarter and town centre.

He said: “This low level and petty crime is all about a lack of civic pride and respect.

“We are fed up with it.

“We would like to know how police can go about tackling this, these may not be the worst crimes but they are often the most annoying.

“I think we are on the same hymn sheet about this.

“One does not want to be seen talking the place down, but we have now got to a stage where we need to start talking about it.

“We need to take a tough line.”

Earlier this month a resident was disgusted to find someone had defecated in her paper recycling box.

The resident of Ball Alley, in the Dutch Quarter, found out a passerby had used her recycling boxes as a toilet.

She believes it had been used because it was probably the quietest, most private place they could find. However, the resident was still left with having to clean the recycling box herself.

The alley, which is known to be a cut-through from the North Station Road area to the town centre, has been used as a urinal before as it is dark and secluded.

The resident said there is a CCTV camera at the top of Ball Alley, but she had been told it was not working.

She felt if there was more working CCTV it may deter low level crime and anti-social behaviour.