35 people arrested across Warwickshire during County Lines week of action
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35 people were arrested last week during an operation to target county lines activity within Warwickshire.
‘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 often use local properties as a base for their activities; this is often acquired by force or coercion referred to as ‘cuckooing’.
A week of intensification took place in the county last week (17-21 May) which included warrants at a number of addresses, various vehicle stops, visits to people at risk of exploitation, training and awareness sessions at schools, colleges, hotels and transport companies, and information leaflets were distributed to local communities.
Throughout the week, six warrants took place in locations including Nuneaton, Leamington and Warwick.
As a result of the arrests, 10 people have now been charged, 19 people have been released under investigation, two people were returned to prison, two people were wanted on warrant and have since attended court, and two cautions were issued.
An estimated total of 281 wraps of crack cocaine, 211 wraps of heroin, 6 wraps of cocaine, a significant amount of cannabis and a pot of amphetamine was seized during the week. Over £14,000 of cash was also seized, as well as weapons including a machete, a gas-powered BB gun, CS canisters and a flick knife. More than 30 mobile phones were also recovered, alongside two vehicles.
11 vulnerable people were also identified and will be supported.
Following the week of activity, Detective Inspector Alan Townsend from Warwickshire Police said: “Last week’s activity targeted county lines drugs activity and the cross-cutting criminality that comes with it. I hope the activity demonstrates how the force is working tirelessly to tackle, disrupt and dismantle drugs supply and protect the young and vulnerable people who are often exploited by this in our communities.
“The aim of the operation was to identify and be robust in tackling, disrupting and dismantling county lines drug supply activities, and to protect Warwickshire communities from harm by protecting the most vulnerable and bringing offenders to justice.
“The week involved a collaborative approach with various departments in the force and with our partner agencies. We are pleased with the outcome, which will have a positive impact on disrupting county lines in Warwickshire.
“This may have been a week of activity but this disruption will not stop and operations such as these are very much ‘business as usual’ for us. 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 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