Local people urged to look out for signs of exploitation following crackdown on drug gangs
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Local people are being urged to help make Warwickshire a safer place by looking out for the signs of young people being exploited by drugs gangs.
The plea comes following a week of action targeting drug dealing in Warwickshire.
The County Lines Intensification Week in Warwickshire saw:
23 arrests – two of whom have been charged
Eight warrants executed across the county
Seizure of drugs with a street value of £167k
Eight knives and two imitation firearms seized
Seizure of £6,800 in cash
Three missing people found and referred for safeguarding
Safeguarding put in place for another five vulnerable people.
On top of this, local safer neighbourhood teams visited vulnerable people, raised awareness of the signs of exploitation amongst taxi drivers and hotel workers, and presented at local schools and colleges.
County Lines Intensification Week – which ran from 3-10 October – was part of a national initiative to tackle the issue where illegal drugs are transported from one area to another, often across police and local authority boundaries.
A common feature in county lines drug supply is the exploitation of young and vulnerable people. They are targeted to act as drug runners so they can avoid detection by police.
In some cases dealers will take over a property belonging to a vulnerable person and use it to deal drugs from. This is known as cuckooing.
People exploited in this way will quite often be exposed to physical, mental and sexual abuse, and will sometimes be trafficked to areas a long way from home to sell drugs.
Detective Chief Inspector Neil Readers, head of Warwickshire Police Proactive CID, said: “This was an extremely successful week that left drug dealers in Warwickshire significantly out of pocket. We also gathered a significant amount of intelligence that will help us to continue to target county lines criminals.
“Our intelligence has shown that following last week’s activity the supply of drugs in some parts of the county has dried up considerably; this is great news for local people. Unfortunately, we know this won’t last and this is why we are appealing for the public to help us tackle the problem.
“Please be aware of the signs of drug dealing and exploitation and report concerns to police. The information you provide could be the missing piece that helps us to protect a vulnerable person, bring offenders to justice and take drugs off the streets.”
To report concerns around drugs and exploitation go to www.warwickshire.police.uk/report or call 101. Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.