County lines crackdown: 12 arrested as £38,000 cash and £18,000 drugs seized in region

A county lines crackdown saw 12 people arrested as well as nearly £38,000 cash and £18,000 worth of drugs seized in Shropshire.

Drugs and burner phones were seized
Drugs and burner phones were seized

Firearms and knives were also confiscated in drugs busts in the county, which were part of a week of action by the National Crime Agency, which saw £2m worth of drugs seized.

"County Lines" activity involves a group from a large urban area travelling to smaller locations to sell drugs.

They may challenge an existing group from the local area or another group in order to take over the local market which often causes an increase in violent incidents.

Bags full of Class A drugs were seized

Groups travel between urban and county locations on a regular basis to collect drugs and deliver cash. They will use local properties as a base for their activities; this is often acquired by force or coercion referred to as "cuckooing".

A national and regional week of intensification took place between October 11 and 17, and included the execution of a number of warrants at addresses, various vehicle stops and numerous visits to educational and community venues.

Across the wider West Mercia policing region, weapons including three air-weapons and five knives were confiscated, four vehicles were seized, multiple mobile phones as well as more than £46,000 cash recovered during the week of intelligence led intensified activity.

In total, 37 arrests were made and £52,000 worth of drugs were seized in West Mercia.

Officers visited 104 addresses in the region.

Weapons were confiscated by police in the crackdown

Assistant Chief Constable Damian Barratt said: “Last week’s targeted activity tackling county lines gangs demonstrates how our officers are working tirelessly to disrupt and dismantle drugs supply and protect the young and vulnerable people who are exploited by them in our communities.

“With 37 arrests made, various warrants executed and cars stopped we have significantly disrupted county lines activity across West Mercia.

"Importantly, we have safeguarded a number of vulnerable people.

“The great work done by all officers and staff involved goes on all of the time and it is important to remember that operations such as these during this national week of intensification are very much ‘business as usual’ for all our teams.

"The intelligence gathering and preparation that has gone into making arrests and disrupting these drug trafficking lines have been, in some cases, weeks and months in the making.

“Education is also 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.

“County lines continues to remain a priority for West Mercia Police. We want to ensure the region becomes a no go area for travelling criminality.

"We will continue to pursue and prosecute those who bring drugs into our counties, commit violence and exploit vulnerable members of our communities.”

Anyone with suspicions that a property is being used to sell drugs from, or that a young and/or vulnerable individual may be getting involved with county lines drug dealing is asked to contact their local police station or to ring 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where the information can be given anonymously.

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