A week of action to focus on county lines criminal activity saw more than 30 arrests made in Cheshire as officers prevented and disrupted those committing serious and organised crime within our local communities.
Officers across the force arrested 31 people for a range of offences including drugs and possessing offensive weapons. The drugs recovered were heroin, crack cocaine and cannabis while officers also seized weapons including knives, a machete, a sword, a crowbar and a baseball bat.
Officers also safeguarded at least six people while six addresses were identified as being used to exploit vulnerable people to deal drugs on another dealer’s behalf.
As part of the action approximately £2500 cash was also seized.
A county line is operated by an organised crime group (OCG) who use a mobile phone, known as a ‘line’ or a ‘graft’ to extend their criminal activity business into new locations - usually from a city into rural areas.
They will often target vulnerable adults, disabled people and children and force their way into their home to use as a secure operating base to deal drugs - a term known as ‘cuckooing’.
Local officers visited schools to inform them of how they can help spot the signs of vulnerable people being coerced into criminal activity and how to report it to police.
Cheshire police and crime commissioner, David Keane, said: “County lines gang activity can have a devastating impact on young people and those who are most vulnerable in our society.
“It is vitally important that our teachers, parents and young people are aware of county lines, what to do if they feel they’re being exploited by these gangs and more importantly, how to stop getting involved in the first place”.
Detective Inspector Justin Hancock, said: “Although we regularly take action to disrupt county line activity, officers went that extra mile last week to target organised crime in our communities.
“Vulnerable adults and children are often targeted to deliver and deal drugs on a criminal’s behalf after being criminally exploited, coerced and manipulated.
“Keeping vulnerable adults and children safe is our priority in Cheshire. As well as carrying out warrants and making arrests, local officers have also been informing the public on how they too can help by spotting the signs of vulnerability.
“Breaking the cycle of those who are coerced into this crime is very difficult and while working with our partners is important we also need support from the public to help disrupt organised crime.
“I would encourage the local community to keep an eye out if you feel something isn’t right and to report it to us on 101.”
Information can also be passed on anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or give us the details via https://cheshire.police.uk/contact/general-enquiries