Shameless drug dealers selling powerful ‘skunk’ cannabis lure addicts with QR codes stuck on lamp posts

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Drug dealers are driving users to buy powerful ‘skunk’ cannabis from slick-looking websites using QR codes stuck on lamp posts. The digital codes are used by conventional retailers to direct customers to online stores – they simply point their smartphone’s camera at the black-and-white image and they are taken straight there. But now drug dealers are using the same technology. It means that far from having to seek out a supplier on a dark street corner, those searching for mind-bending drugs can find them on a legitimate-looking website at the click of a button. The development comes just weeks after it was revealed that fraudsters were using fake QR codes in hundreds of frighteningly simple scams. Payment is encouraged in untraceable cryptocurrency and bank transfers, with the company saying delivery via the Royal Mail is often complete within 24 hours. One woman lost £13,000 after she scanned a QR code villains had stuck over a genuine one at a railway station car park in North Yorkshire. She thought she was paying for parking. In recent weeks, hundreds of stickers have appeared on lamp posts, bollards and other street furniture in Orpington and Bexleyheath in South-East London. The small round stickers all bear an image of a cannabis leaf, the words ‘get your delivery’ and a QR code. When an observer points their smartphone camera at the code, it provides a link straight to an online drug supermarket. The glossy website offers a range of cannabis products containing high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive element of the plant. While some cannabis-derived products are now legal, those containing anything beyond trace levels of THC remain Class B illegal drugs. Also for sale are brightly coloured drug-packed ‘gummy’ sweets, resembling harmless wine gums. Customers can also buy vaping pens containing up to 86 per cent THC. They include sweet flavours likely to attract children. Such products have left some youngsters in comas. Customers are encouraged to follow the company on encrypted chat app Telegram, which is popular with gangsters and terrorists. The website wrongly suggests that THC-packed substances such as skunk and cannabis vapes are legal, while at the same time promising those ordering a delivery that ‘the contents of your parcel remain confidential’. Many of the stickers promoting the drugs website that were seen by The Mail on Sunday were placed close to a primary school. The London Borough of Bexley and the Met have been informed about the stickers, but many remain on view. Last night a spokesman for the Met said: ‘We will pursue the criminals who are involved in the production and supply of cannabis, on the basis they negatively impact communities and support serious and organised crime.’ A Royal Mail spokesman said: ‘We work closely with the police to prevent such activities from happening.’

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