Police visiting Shropshire schools in war on 'county lines' crime
Police are visiting schools across Shropshire to warn about the dangers of 'county lines' exploitation.
Officers have been visiting schools as well as community groups, to help people spot the signs of county lines.
County lines activity involves criminals from urban areas travelling to smaller often rural locations to sell drugs or carry out crime.
This can include cuckooing, which involves using a vulnerable person's home as a base of operations.
Assistant Chief Constable Geoff Wessell said: “Education is key, and our officers have conducted many visits to schools, social care providers, health professionals and other important community groups.
"By providing information on what to look for we can help the community to spot the signs of cuckooing – where gangs target the most vulnerable individuals and use their homes to sell drugs from, as well giving advice on how to spot the signs of vulnerable young people and adults being used in dealing drugs."
Assistant Chief Constable Wessell said county lines is a priority for West Mercia Police.
“We want to ensure the region becomes a no-go area for travelling criminality," he said. "We will continue to pursue and prosecute those who bring drugs into our counties, commit violence and exploit vulnerable members of our communities.”
His comments come after 32 people were arrested across West Mercia in relation to county lines offences.
Thousands of pounds worth of drugs were seized during the operation, as well as weapons including knives, machetes and replica shotguns.
Anyone with suspicions that a property is being used to sell drugs from, or that a young or vulnerable individual may be getting involved with county lines drug dealing can contact their local police station or to ring 101.
Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or at crimestoppers-uk.org