POLICE are reminding residents of the signs someone could be involved in county lines drug dealing.
Det Sgt Sarah Wolsey of Warwickshire Police said: “We know the impact drugs have on our communities and the associated crime they bring and we will take any opportunity we can to remove drugs from our streets.
“Drugs can cause untold misery and damage to people’s lives and we will always act on information we receive to tackle drugs and county lines networks.
“County lines is where organised criminal groups use phone lines to move and supply drugs, usually from cities into smaller towns and rural areas. They often exploit vulnerable people – including children and those with mental health or addiction issues – by recruiting them to distribute the drugs.
“Where we suspect someone might be involved in county lines against their will, we will provide the necessary safeguarding for them but our communities can also help by being aware of the signs and reporting any concerns to us.
“The information you provide could be the missing piece that helps us protect a vulnerable person and bring drug dealers to justice.”
Criminal gangs take advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, control, manipulate or deceive children.
While the most common age for exploitation is 15 to 16, children as young as 12 are being exploited.
Missing school regularly can be a sign someone is being exploited by county lines drug gangs. Other signs include changes in behaviour, access to several phones, carrying weapons, unexplained expensive gifts such as clothes, trainers and cash, travelling alone to places far from home, receiving more messages than usual, hanging out with older people, and unexplained injuries.
Visit www.warwickshire.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/cl/county-lines for more information.