The number of Albanian cocaine gangs in Britain has soared by 42% in the last three years, according to The Times.
The paper claims the gangsters, who control the trade in high-purity cocaine, have spread from big cities into seaside towns and rural villages as cocaine usage soars.
According to the Global Drug Survey, some drug users across the country can have the Class A drug delivered in less than 15 minutes – faster than the average takeaway delivery.
Specialists believe the gangs are heavily involved with money laundering, violent crime and human trafficking.
The Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, Andy Cook, said: “The Albanian impact has affected a number of cities. The Balkan-region criminality is layered on top of other criminality from our homegrown criminals. The increase in cocaine and crack will be a driver [for violence] but there are numerous reasons — improved recording and reduced police numbers among them.”
“The challenge is even greater with Balkan countries because we don’t necessarily have the links in. It’s harder to infiltrate their communities through covert means. They are close-knit but there have been notable successes.”