Sightings of drug dealing in the shadow of Bradford Cathedral has prompted Church leaders to hold talks on how they can help the fight against drugs.

Clergy and lay people from all the parishes will be urged to actively support initiatives which help addicts break the habit when they attend a Diocesan Synod meeting on Saturday.

Canon Geoff Smith said Cathedral staff had seen a gang operating from a phone box on Stott Hill, the police had been informed and several arrests had been made.

He said: "Churches are often quiet places which are used for this kind of thing and you do hear clergy talking about it."

Elaine Appelbee, the Bishop's Officer for Church in Society, said it will be an educative debate featuring Bradford Health Authority's director of public health, Dr Dee Kyle, and community psychiatric nurse Ruth Snowden from the Airdale Drug and Alcohol Team.

"One of the things the churches are involved in now is work with young people. That would be seen as preventative work. Perhaps the next step is getting involved with people actually suffering from drug and alcohol misuse.

"The Church is in every community and it has its people living on the ground. It is quite modest about understanding what it can do but it also understands it has a role to play. When you look at what the Church is doing in the hardest-bitten areas of the diocese it has an important part to play in healing the hurt which is around."

She added: "Churches are about preaching the gospel which is about healing broken relationships, whether that's between humans and God or between each other. Caring is it not an optional extra for us - it's in our job description.''

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