Drug dealers in Tower Hamlets are having their identities exposed by a virtual vigilante, who is uploading their number plates and photographs to Twitter.
Under the handle @dealerhunter1, ‘London Boy’ publishes images and comprehensive vehicle descriptions of drug dealers working in the Tower Hamlets area. Last Sunday, the “community activist” uploaded a list of six dealers he spotted working on that day alone.
London Boy started his campaign in March 2016. Asked why, he said: “I became increasingly frustrated witnessing drug dealers dealing openly without the police challenging these criminals overtly, selling drugs in Tower Hamlets.”
While London boy “cannot put a figure” on how many dealers he has “exposed” since then, the activist is sure that his campaign is influencing dealer activity in the area: “I have seen that they switch vehicles very frequently after I have put them up on my feed, leading me to believe that some of them follow or take notice of my account.”
Despite the seeming success of his venture, London Boy believes that his brand of “community activism” may be the only one of its kind. He hopes, however, that his efforts will eventually inspire other Londoners to do the same where they live, and “disrupt the activity of dealers in their respective areas”.
Asked why he runs the campaign, London Boy said: “I hope to expose the dealers to as many people as possible and expose them so that they are caught…it’s the least I can do for myself, my family, my community and the future generations.”
In addition to tweeting, London Boy passes all information directly to the Met Police via their contact centre twitter account (@MetCC). According to London Boy, the police have been “very helpful” in advancing his campaign.
When asked, the Met refused to comment specifically on London Boy’s actions. They did, however, tell East London Lines: “The Met does not support activities by individuals who target suspected criminals. This type of action could jeopardise or interfere with on-going investigations. Individuals or groups who target potentially violent criminals could be putting themselves at risk and we advise anyone who witnesses such crimes to call 999.”