DRUG dealers are to fund research at Teesside University, albeit indirectly and involuntarily.
Money from the Cleveland police fund based on seized dealers' assets has been used to endow a prize for research on drugs-related issues.
Barry Shaw, chief constable of Cleveland, said: "From time to time we receive money awarded to us by the courts and some of this is used to educate young people and tackle drug misuse. One gap that we have identified is the lack of research into the whole drugs issue here in the Cleveland force's area."
Mr Shaw handed the Pounds 12,600 endowment to Derek Fraser, vice chancellor of Teesside, last week. Colin Dunnighan, senior lecturer in criminology and former County Durham police officer, said it was expected to make an income of Pounds 500-600 to be awarded as a prize.
Students will be invited to offer their research proposals in June, with the prize to be awarded by a panel of university and police representatives in September.
"The police are keen to explore further the link between crimes such as burglary and drug taking," said Mr Dunninghan.