Fifty people have been arrested, cash, weapons and mobile phones seized and drugs recovered as part of a major police crackdown.
As part of County Lines Intensification week, Lancashire Police visited and safeguarded vulnerable people, provided educational visits to schools across the county and visited bus stations, train stations and taxi ranks to raise awareness of county lines, delivering messages and leaflets.
County Lines is the term used to describe drug dealing where mobile phones are used to supply drugs from large cities to towns and rural areas. County Lines are run by ‘Line Holders’ and the runners, often vulnerable people, deliver the drugs. The system of drug distribution leads to serious violence and exploitation.
During the week earlier this month, 39 men and five women were arrested, along with six people aged under 18.
Thousands of pounds worth of Class A and Class B drugs were seized along with thousands of pounds in cash, 40 mobile phones, and 17 weapons.
Police also visited almost 40 addresses suspected of being used for cuckooing – the practice where someone’s home is taken over by criminals to prepare or deal drugs.
Supt Graham Hill, Lancashire Constabulary’s County Lines lead, said: “We are working harder than ever to crack down on County Lines criminals who bring drug dealing and violence into our communities and this activity is a snapshot of the work carried out across Lancashire every single day to disrupt those involved in organised crime as part of Operation Warrior.
“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, 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 online. If you think someone is in immediate danger, call 999.