Thursday 9 December 2021
5.5 C
Nottingham

13 arrests in police operation to tackle county lines drug distribution

Thirteen suspected dealers, drug runners or recruiters have been arrested as part of enforcement activity to target and disrupt county lines drug supply.

Dedicated officers also identified six vulnerable people whose safety and well-being was severely at risk. These people have now been safeguarded and are being supported by both police and partners.

The force was also able to seize 186 wraps of class A drugs (heroin and cocaine) which are due to be forensically tested, as well as seizing £2,250 cash and mobile phones which are awaiting to be examined. Eight weapons including knives and batons were also recovered during the proactive week.

County lines intensification week ran from Monday 17 May to Sunday 23 May and the operation formed part of a national week of action led by the National Crime Agency which saw police forces up and down the country taking part.

Officers arrested a 23-year-old man and a 28-year-old woman after a vehicle was stopped in Walnut Drive in Bramcote after being suspected of being involved in drug supply. Suspected heroin, cocaine, mamba and cannabis was recovered, as well as paraphernalia such as scales and multiple mobile phones.

A teenager was also arrested in Newark on suspicion of possession with intent to supply after being seen getting off the bus and walking to an address that has been linked to recent county lines drug supply. He was stopped by officers, attempted to run from them, before he was detained and handed over a large golf-ball sized package of suspected Class A controlled drug, suspected to be crack cocaine and heroin, from his clothing.

By conducting a detailed investigation detectives are now examining the circumstances surrounding why that teenager was in possession of the suspected drugs so the most appropriate outcome for this individual can follow.

The force’s dedicated county lines team also engaged with local taxi firms, hotel firms and job centre staff  and also took part in a joint train station operation with British Transport Police to engage with members of the public.

A number of houses were searched following local intelligence being passed on to the force.  Meanwhile a seized mobile phone from a suspected drug dealer was used to send a bulk text message to help the vulnerable to seek support from charities and services.

Neighbourhood officers carried out proactive patrols in their areas visiting residents and engaged with them to raise awareness around the signs of county lines as well as encouraging those to report criminal activity to police.

There were also a number of internal workshops for police officers and staff to learn more about how to spot the signs of county lines. Detective Inspector Paul Lefford said the hard work and determination of the team would continue to relentlessly track down and bring to justice those who exploit vulnerable young people to sell drugs in and around Nottinghamshire.

He said: “The week’s awareness-raising activity is just a snapshot of the work we’re doing all year round, working closely with our partners, to tackle county lines and safeguard young people at risk of criminal exploitation.

“The force continues to work closely with agencies to keep people safe and we are determined to make a difference. Whether that’s by prosecuting drug dealers or supporting vulnerable people to break free from a particular lifestyle.

“Our message is clear, if you’re a drug dealer in Nottinghamshire and you are looking to recruit, exploit and profit financially by exploiting the vulnerable we will use every tactic available to us to locate, enforce and prosecute you.

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“Nottinghamshire Police has invested resources and training into improving the identification and protection of victims of such offences and we are always proactively doing our utmost to protect vulnerable individuals.

“We continue to respond to intelligence, seek opportunities to disrupt criminal activity linked to county lines as well as visiting young people at risk of criminal exploitation. If you spot anything suspicious or can help us tackle the issue, then please don’t wait, report it.”

County lines is a term used to describe urban gangs supplying drugs to other parts of the UK using dedicated mobile phone lines. The gangs are likely to exploit children or vulnerable adults to move and store drugs and they will often use violence and coercion.

This is a national issue and the force has been working to identify criminal gangs, protecting vulnerable people who are at risk of exploitation and enforcement and disruption activity targeting those who pose the most risk to the local community.

Anyone who has concerns or sees anything suspicious, is urged to report directly to the police by calling 101 in a non-emergency or 999 in an emergency.

People can also remain anonymous, if they contact the independent charity Crimestoppers online or call 0800 555 111 or visit: www.childrenssociety.org.uk/lookcloser

For more information please visit: https://www.nottinghamshire.police.uk/advice/county-lines