53 people have been arrested, cash, weapons and mobile phones have been seized and suspected Class A and Class B drugs have been recovered from across Lancashire, as part of a major national operation to crack down on County Lines offenders.
Last week, as part of County Lines Intensification Week, we also visited and safeguarded 80 vulnerable people, provided educational visits to schools across the county and visited bus stations, train stations and taxi ranks to raise awareness around County Lines, delivering messages and leaflets.
County Lines is the transportation of illegal drugs from one area to another, usually by children or vulnerable adults who are coerced into it by criminal gangs.
During the week, 44 men and 4 women were arrested, along with 5 people aged under 18.
Thousands of pounds worth of Class A and Class B drugs were seized along with cash, 27 mobile phones and weapons.
Lancashire Constabulary’s Force lead for County Lines, Becky Smith said:
“We are working harder than ever to crack down on County Lines criminals who bring drug dealing and violence into our communities. This week’s activity is a snapshot of the work carried out across Lancashire every single day to disrupt those involved in organised crime and tackle County Lines. Along with our partners in Children’s Social Services, Health and Education, we will continue this work, also driving awareness in schools and identifying those vulnerable to exploitation so that we can provide appropriate safeguarding.”
“Our intention is to make Lancashire an uncomfortable place for these criminals to operate and we are committed to continuing to work alongside our partners and other forces to close down these lines, protect vulnerable people and remove those who exploit from our streets”
During school visits, our officers provided education on how gangs will criminally exploit children and adults and have given advice on signs to look for if somebody is being exploited. Some of these signs include children frequently going missing and then returning home, having more clothes, mobile phones, or cash than usual, receiving excessive text messages or phone calls and disengagement from school.
If you believe that someone may be involved in County Lines or other drugs activity, you can report it to us by calling 101. Alternatively, you can report it via the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or report your concerns anonymously online at Crimestoppers-uk-org. If you think someone is in immediate danger, call 999.
More information on County Lines in Lancashire can be found on https://eyes-open.co.uk/area/lancashire/ or https://lancashire.police.uk/help-advice/safer-communities/county-lines/