Hampshire police arrest 33 people with drugs seized in county lines week of action
A CO-ORDINATED week of action by Hampshire police and partners to tackle county lines drug dealing saw thousands of pounds worth of drugs seized and 33 people arrested.
Between May 17 and 23, 10 county lines and organised crime networks were disrupted by officers.
County lines are organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs out of bigger cities into smaller towns in the UK, using dedicated mobile phone lines or other form of deal line.
They exploit children and vulnerable adults to move and store drugs and money, and often use coercion, intimidation, violence and weapons.
As part of the week of action by Hampshire Constabulary, neighbourhood policing teams engaged with local residents in order to share information about county lines drug dealing in the area, to reassure, and to raise awareness of child criminal exploitation and how to spot it.
Officers identified and safeguarded 17 children as vulnerable to county lines exploitation.
Police seized 10 weapons – seven knives, a scissor blade, catapult and knuckleduster. Some 38 phones were seized along with crack and cocaine.
Some 26 men were arrested as well as three boys and four women.
The operation saw officers target 52 cuckooed addresses and stop check seven vehicles.
In all, £4,140 worth of heroin, £50,000 worth of cannabis, 25 MDMA tabs, and £7,380 cash were seized.
Hampshire Constabulary’s led for drug-related harm, Detective Superintendent Nick Plummer, said: ‘No one really knows how many young people across the country are being forced to take part and support County Lines activity.
‘Children without criminal records – known as “clean skins” – are preferred because they are less likely to be known to police. However, children with criminal records are also vulnerable to exploitation from gangs who use them to operate their business all over the country.
‘The objective of this intensification week was to disrupt county lines networks and safeguarding exploited children and the vulnerable.
‘County lines and local drug networks cause misery for vulnerable young people and our communities and it is absolutely right that we continue putting significant effort into identifying those involved in supply and exploitation for their own gain.
‘There is this strong link between drugs and violence, and we have made significant efforts to understand the impact of those involved in county lines and other crime that spills into our neighbourhoods.’
Results from the activities included recovery and seizure of £4,140 worth of heroin, £50,000 worth of cannabis, 25 MDMA tabs and £7,380 cash recovered.
A further seven pre-planned warrants were executed at addresses believed to be used in county lines activity.
British Transport Police ran a number of successful operations in Portsmouth looking to stop children being used as runners.
If you notice suspicious activity or have information about drug dealing you can make a report on our website, call 101 - always call 999 in an emergency.