Drug culture turning Camden into an 'open toilet', says Miller

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The Independent Online

Jonathan Miller, the award-winning opera director and academic, has warned that London's crime and drug culture is turning parts of the city into an "open toilet".

Dr Miller, who lives in Camden Town, believes his neighbourhood is overrun by "uncontrollable drug dealing" and antisocial behaviour. Residents who venture out after dark were "taking their lives into their own hands", he said.

"We need to restore order. The street is full of misconduct, from the dangerous to the disgusting."

Neighbours believe a group of drug-dealers stash their wares in plant pots, above shop door frames and under market stalls. Addicts also foul the pavements. Dr Miller said: "It has become an open toilet. People relieve themselves against the doorways, so their urine seeps into the basements of the shops."

At a public meeting last week, Dr Miller criticised Camden council - which plans a £3m revamp - for not adequately managing the area and its markets. "Camden revels in the economic advantages of buyers for the awful tat available, but has no plans to manage the weekly influx of strangers.''

A Camden council spokes- woman said the £3m scheme was aimed at improving public spaces, and that street wardens and drug action teams patrolled the area. It also expected its use of antisocial behaviour orders to produce improvements soon.