DRUG trafficking into Rhyl by outside criminal gangs and a notorious drug-related murder in the town is the focus of a hard-hitting TV documentary to be broadcast next week.

TV cop Mali Harries – a star of hit crime drama crime series Y Gwyll (Hinterland), which was shown on S4C in Welsh and BBC One in English – investigates the violent turf wars waged by drug-trafficking gangs from Liverpool and Manchester.

She also visits the location of the fatal attack on 48-year-old Mark Mason in the car park of the town's Home Bargains store in the autumn of 2016, where the father of two was stabbed 22 times.

The trend among itinerant drug gangs to cross the border and target communities in North Wales is an example of a rising criminal phenomenon known as 'county lines' .

Set Wil Jones, a North Wales Police drug taskforce leader, tells the programme: “County lines is when gangs from large English cities like Liverpool or Manchester target small towns such as Rhyl and usually send young people to move into the houses of drug users, vulnerable people whom they bully to deal on their behalf.

“There have been a great many drugs-related attacks in the area, especially with gangs crossing over from other places, so it is important that we deal with the issue.”

Every month Sgt Jones’ team conducts raids, targeting those bringing drugs into North Wales. One of these raids was filmed with presenter Harries for next Tuesday's Welsh language documentary, an episode in the third series of Y Ditectif, on S4C.

Four Liverpool men, Jake Melia, Anthony Baines, Mark Ennis and James Davies were given prison sentences totalling 78 years at Mold Crown Court in June 2017 for their roles in Mr Mason's murder.

Chief Supt Iestyn Davies tells the programme: “It was possible that a turf war was going on and that the attack meant that Mark Mason had been deliberately murdered to get one gang out of the way, so that another gang could operate in the area.

“I think that the case and the sentence sent a clear message to those people who are ready to use violence; that the police have the resources to come after you, find you, charge you and put you in prison for a long time.

“We have to put pressure on these dealers. If we don’t put pressure on them, it will be easy for them to continue operating here.”

Y Ditectif will go out on S4C on Tuesday, May 15 at 9.30pm.