More than £58,000 worth of drugs and cash has been seized by Dorset Police during a crackdown week on suspected ‘county lines’ dealers.
Between Monday 21 and Friday 25 January 2019, 38 people were arrested on suspicion of drug-related offences during a week of targeted action.
Of these arrests, five were juveniles and are being safeguarded by partner agencies.
Safe and well checks were conducted at vulnerable adult addresses and relevant safeguarding has now been put in place to support these individuals.
Superintendent Caroline Naughton said: “Safeguarding vulnerable people is one of our biggest priorities.
“County lines exploit vulnerable young people and coerce them to commit criminal activity.
“This week was an intensification of our existing work to tackle suspected drug-related crime. While I’m extremely pleased with the work carried out this week, our efforts to tackle county lines are ongoing and relentless.”
County lines is the name given to urban drug dealers expanding their activities into smaller towns and rural areas.
Gangs will use people, including teenagers from other parts of the country, to come to Dorset and supply drugs. They will often target vulnerable people and move into their address against their will.
Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: “County lines is a growing problem, not just in Dorset but across the country. It is something that the police can’t tackle alone.
“We need the support of our communities to continue to provide information to Dorset Police about suspected drug-related offences.”
Detective Inspector Charlotte Tucker, Regional Coordinator for County Lines, said: “With 90 arrests and more than £50,000 seized across the South West in the past week alone, it’s clear there is targeted action being taken against Lines operating in our region.
“Equally important is the work done to identify vulnerable young people and adults being exploited by drug gangs, which included visits to more than 200 currently or previously ‘cuckooed’ addresses.
“But, we know that every day more young people and vulnerable adults are being targeted by these gangs and the challenge of dismantling these Lines is a very real one, not just for law enforcement, but for safeguarding, health and education professionals as well. As a region, we continue to strengthen our response.”
If you notice someone is showing signs of county lines involvement please report your suspicions to the police by calling 101 or by calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Further information on County Lines can be found here: https://www.dorset.police.uk/help-advice-crime-prevention/safety-in-your-community/county-lines/