County Lines Operations: Arrests Made And Drugs Seized By Cumbria Constabulary

Cumbria Constabulary have made arrests across a number of towns as they targeted county lines drugs crime during a week-long national focus on the issue.

Detective Inspector Ed Russell said: “We work all-year-round to tackle the threat from county lines and stop these gangs getting a foothold in our communities

“We’re committed to dismantling these criminal networks and to protecting the young and vulnerable people who are exploited by gangs and are subject to violence, fear and intimidation.

“We have a track record of putting such gangs before the courts and the subsequent significant sentences have seen many lines and set-ups dismantled or disrupted.

“County lines is exploitative drug supply and is devastating to local communities, well beyond those who are directly involved in the local drugs scene.

“The work we do closely with our external partners and those working in other police forces and regional law enforcement is vital in our fight against drug trafficking and county lines.”

Patrols were launched in south Cumbria, leading to arrests in Barrow, Kendal and Windermere throughout the intensification period, with crack cocaine, heroin, £1,860 in cash and a knife seized.

DI Russell added: “While law enforcement has made significant progress on this issue, it is not something we can tackle alone

“Local agencies, charities, partners, schools, parents all need to help us to protect the most vulnerable in our communities

“Tackling county lines is in equal parts about safeguarding victims, shutting down the line and targeting line holders.”

Officers also visited about 15 people identified as being potentially vulnerable to this type of offence to check on their safety, offer initial support and give out details of agencies for ongoing support.

As well as this, there was work with partners, leaflet drops and other work to raise awareness in communities and point out the signs of exploitation or drug dealing in their neighbourhoods.

Officers in the county take action every day to tackle the threat from county lines drugs gangs and protect those potentially being exploited.

Throughout the week of intensification, running March 7 to 13, law enforcement collectively stepped up its response and enhanced active investigations.

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: “This intensification week highlights the type of work that Cumbria Constabulary achieves year-round to tackle county lines and drugs in our communities.

“Drugs can have a devastating effect on communities, on the lives of the vulnerable young people that are lured into transporting and selling drugs with the promise of a better life.

“The police do a fantastic job, but they need the help of local people to help identify any suspicious activity.

“The public know their area better than anyone so if you see anything suspicious, please report it to the police on 101, 999 in an emergency or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

“It’s so important that we continue to tackle county lines and create a safer Cumbria for everyone.”

County lines is the name used to describe a crime network trafficking drugs using dedicated mobile phone lines.

They exploit young people and vulnerable adults to move and sell the drugs and sometimes ‘cuckoo’ the homes of vulnerable or drug-addicted people, taking them over and using their property as a drugs base.

Among the police departments involved throughout the work were local neighbourhood police teams and patrol officers, serious organised crime teams, roads policing, proactive teams and analytics staff.

There was partnership work to raise awareness of the issue and to help with offering support to those vulnerable to this type of criminality.