More than 80 people arrested following regional week of action to tackle county drugs lines

Mon 26th, Mar

A week of action to disrupt drug gangs operating across the eastern region has resulted in more than 80 people being arrested and Class A drugs worth more than £26,000 seized.

A week of action to disrupt drug gangs operating across the eastern region has resulted in more than 80 people being arrested and Class A drugs worth more than £26,000 seized. The clampdown on county drugs lines, which started on Monday (19 March) was co-ordinated by the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) and saw officers from seven forces, along with the regional disruption team, the National Crime Agency, and other partner agencies from the eastern region carry out action in several towns to disrupt offenders and safeguard vulnerable people. County lines is a term used to describe gangs, groups or drug networks that supply drugs from urban to suburban areas across the country, including market and coastal towns, using dedicated mobile phone lines or ‘deal lines’. Offenders exploit children and vulnerable adults in order to move the drugs and money to and from the urban area, and to store the drugs in local properties. The gangs will take over a property within a town, often belonging to someone who is vulnerable, in a process known as cuckooing and are also known to use intimidation, violence and weapons, including knives, corrosives and firearms. During the week of action, the collective response across the eastern region saw 31 warrants carried out, 82 arrests made, 13 weapons seized, and Class A drugs with an estimated street value of £26,000 and more than £40,000 in cash recovered. Almost 1,000 wraps of Class A drugs were also found, and officers across the region conducted welfare visits and safeguarding checks for a number of vulnerable people. ERSOU Detective Superintendent Bernie Morgan said: “We are determined that there will be no place to hide for those who bring harm to our region by exploiting people and pedalling dangerous, illegal substances. “We’re committed to taking strong action to deal with county drug lines in the eastern region, and this week’s co-ordinated response is a great example of law enforcement and partner agencies working together to tackle serious criminal activity and to protect the vulnerable. We will continue to work with our national and partner agencies to ensure that the eastern region’s response to county lines is robust and that we are protecting any vulnerable person from harm.”