The price of street drugs has risen in London during the coronavirus pandemic due to strict lockdown measures, a wholesale cocaine supplier has told Sky News.
The London-based co-ordinator, who sells drugs to smaller dealers in the capital, said the price of a kilogram of cocaine has surged from £36,000 to £40,000.
This means regular users who still want access to the product are having to pay more because of a fall in supply.
The wholesale dealer, who asked not be named, says he has been busier than normal while lockdown measures are in place.
He added that some of his customers have switched to purchasing more cannabis than cocaine, as the government has asked people to stay inside to help slow the spread of coronavirus.
Sky News has seen WhatsApp messages which reveal many street dealers have stopped selling drugs because police are checking more vehicles on the roads in accordance with “stay home” advice.
One drug user said: “Nobody wants to drive as the chances of getting pulled over are much greater now.”
Other messages show how the price of drugs dropped in London in the days leading up to the lockdown, with dealers concerned they would be unable to shift their stock.
One message, sent by a dealer to multiple customers, used Sky News branding to mockingly suggest “cocaine kills the coronavirus”.
The text reads: “CORONA VACCINE SPECIAL.
“Breaking news, this just in.
“Not much time left until we can’t deliver anymore to you, given the recent circumstances.
“Call now while there’s time to make sure you have enough vaccinations to last you the imminent quarantine.”
The message then advertises “2 vaccines for £100, 3 vaccines for £140, 4 vaccines for £180”.
The text ends with: “Stay healthy.”
Drugs like cocaine and MDMA are more associated with going out and partying, which is not happening under government instructions to self-isolate at home to protect the NHS.
Some drug users said they bought “party packs”, which typically contain both class A and class B drugs, ahead of the lockdown in anticipation that it would become more difficult to buy them.
Another cannabis smoker said they bought a “virus-sized pack of weed weeks ago” to see them through the shutdown.
One cannabis smoker, who asked not to be named, said: “The price of cannabis seems to be starting to go up.
“I’ve had one of my dealers say they might have to put everything on hold due to police checks making it way more risky to be driving about doing deliveries.”
Another regular drug buyer added: “There’s a guy near me who zips around on a scooter at all hours of the day.”
He continued: “Everyone I know who gets stuck in bought party bags to see them through.
“A good friend of mine almost got gripped on Monday when he was cycling about doing drops.
“That was in Stoke Newington.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced lockdown measures last week in effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
The guidance means people should stay at home for three weeks and only go out for limited purposes, such as buying groceries or carrying out one form of exercise a day.