Criminals have found themselves more than £1m out of pocket following a week of action in Warwickshire targeting county lines drug dealing.
County Lines Intensification Week – which ran from 9-15 October - is a national initiative aimed at tackling a trade linked to serious violent crime and the exploitation of vulnerable people.
Throughout the week officers seized more than 2300 cannabis plants with a street value of more than £1.1m, £2500 in cash, and more than £30k in cocaine.
In addition, 23 people were arrested on suspicion of a range of drug related offences.
County lines is the name given to drug dealing where organised criminal groups from large cities use vulnerable young people to move drugs into smaller towns and rural areas.
In Exhall, 1,839 cannabis plants were seized with a street value of more than £1m after officers raided an industrial unit. Four men were arrested and charged.
In Rugby, officers seized more than £30k worth of cocaine after stopping a car in York Street. A man was arrested and charged.
In the south of the county, four drug warrants were executed and eight people arrested on suspicion of drug offences.
Detective Chief Inspector Rich Brown from the Warwickshire Police Prevent Team said: “County lines drug gangs continue to exploit vulnerable people in our communities. Last week’s activity was about disrupting their activity and reducing the opportunities for criminals to profit from the exploitation of others.
“As well as taking enforcement action we visited vulnerable people to ensure measures were in place to protect them from exploitation.
“We also gathered a lot of intelligence that will help us continue to disrupt the activity of county lines gangs.
“Information from the public is vital in helping us tackling these gangs. Please be aware of the signs of exploitation and report any concerns you have to us. Every piece of intelligence, no matter how small, gives us a better picture of the problem and help us focus our resources to tackle it.”
Concerns can be reported to Warwickshire Police at www.warwickshire.police.uk/report or call 101. Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Overview of activity in North Warwickshire
Two child referrals made
Three warrants executed on Monday 9 October resulting in three arrests.
75 cannabis plants seized and man arrested at a house in Brendon Way, Nuneaton
1839 cannabis plants with an estimated street value of over £1m seized and found people arrested from an industrial estate in Exhall.
Overview of activity in Rugby
Cocaine with an estimated value of £30k and £2k of cash seized after a car was stopped in York Street, Rugby. A man was arrested and charged with possession with intent to supply cocaine.
Overview of activity in South Warwickshire
Four warrants executed seizing almost 200 cannabis plants.
451 cannabis plants seized in total.
27 wraps of class A drugs seized.
£940 in cash seized.
Spotting the signs of exploitation
County lines gangs exploit vulnerable people in Warwickshire. You can help tackle this problem by being aware of the signs and reporting concerns. They include:
Changes in behaviour
Access to several phones
Unexplained gifts such as clothes, trainers and cash
Travelling alone to places far away from home
Receiving more messages than usual
Carrying or selling drugs
Hanging out with older people
Being more reserved
Having access to money for which they can’t account.