50 arrested across Warwickshire during two week focus on County Lines
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Officers have arrested 50 people as part of a sustained focus on targeting county lines drug dealing and gangs within the county.
The activity, which has taken place over the last fortnight, included the Warwickshire Police response to the national County Lines week of action, coordinated by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).
During the last two weeks officers from across the force area have executed warrants at a number of addresses and have carried out various vehicle stops. Vulnerable people and those at risk were also safeguarded, while officers carried out high visibility proactive and educational patrols.
Warrants have taken place in Nuneaton, Leamington, Stratford, Atherstone, Keresley and Rugby, with significant amounts of heroin, crack cocaine, cocaine and cannabis seized.
Vehicles, more than £20,000 in cash, imitation firearms and knives, and 41 phones suspected to be linked to drug dealing were also recovered. Securing these communications is vital in disrupting the county lines movement and provides officers with key intelligence.
‘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 County Lines group in order to take over the local market which often causes an increase in violent incidents.
The 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’.
Detective Inspector Chris Cook from Warwickshire Police said: “This targeted activity on 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 within our communities.
“This may have been two weeks of activity but this disruption will not stop and operations such as these are very much ‘business as usual’ for us.
“With 50 arrests made, various warrants served and cars stopped we have significantly disrupted county lines activity across the county and have safeguarded a number of vulnerable people.
“Tackling county lines drug dealing remains a priority for Warwickshire Police. 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. Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
The Protect campaign sees police work closely with partners to tackle Serious and Organised Crime (SOC) and the harm it causes. The broad-ranging campaign comprises four key areas of activity:
- Pursue - prosecuting and disrupting those involved in SOC
- Prevent - stopping individuals from becoming involved in SOC
- Protect - increased levels of protection against SOC
- Prepare - reducing the impact of SOC where it occurs
Posted by SC, Corporate Communications