29th Oct, 2020

Police urge public to be alert to signs of exploitative ‘county lines’ drug gangs

Andy Morris 11th Sep, 2020

POLICE are once again urging the public to be on the lookout for signs of ‘county lines’ drug gangs, who often exploit children and vulnerable people.

County lines drug dealing is a term used to describe gangs transporting drugs from bigger cities into smaller towns.

This is a national problem involving drug gangs operating from cities including Birmingham, London, Manchester and Liverpool.

Warwickshire Police has an ongoing initiative which aims to tackle and disrupt county lines crime and other forms of serious organised crime.

Det Insp Chris Cook from Warwickshire Police said: “Alongside other similar counties in the country, unfortunately we do have county lines drugs gangs operating within Warwickshire.

“Illegal drugs bring misery to our communities and those involved in the supply often target vulnerable people and children. We are determined in disrupting and deterring these gangs and bringing the key players to justice, which is why we are asking the public to look out for signs.

“On their own, the signs may not be suspicious – but when you put them together with changes in behaviour, they could be a sign of county lines drug dealing.

“The public are our eyes and ears in the community and it is important they are looking out for the signs of county lines drug dealing and reporting it to police.

“If you have any suspicions, please get in touch. Your piece of information, no matter how small, might be the final piece of the jigsaw that means we can take action.”

Police are urging people to look out for the following signs:

  • Children or young people going missing from home or school
  • Changes in a person’s behaviour or emotional wellbeing
  • Children or young people socialising with unfamiliar people
  • A person starting to abuse drugs and alcohol
  • Someone acquiring money they can’t account for
  • Someone buying expensive goods they can’t afford
  • Lone children visiting from outside the area
  • Someone with multiple phones, tablets or SIM cards
  • Unknown or suspicious people going into a neighbour’s house – especially if that neighbour is vulnerable.

Call police on 101 or independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 to report information which could help police tackle county lines drug crime.

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