Drugs and cash seized in Dorset as part of ‘County Lines’ campaign

Over £23,000 of drugs and cash have been seized in a week of action against ‘county line’ drug dealing networks in Dorset

Between the 8 and 14 October, Dorset Police and partner agencies began a period of intensive law enforcement activity focusing on reducing county lines networks operating within Dorset.

County lines is the name given to urban drug dealers expanding their activities into smaller towns and rural areas, primarily to supply crack cocaine and heroin to addicts in those locations.

Across the Force, a total of 30 arrests were made throughout the week of action. Of these 30 arrests, 21 were released under investigation, five were charged, two transferred to other forces, one was released without conviction and one was remanded in custody regarding a warrant.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Dilworth said: “Dorset Police is firmly committed to tackling county lines drug dealing networks and reducing the harm they cause to our communities; identifying and protecting those most vulnerable to exploitation and bringing those responsible for supplying drugs in the county to justice.

As well as the action against suspected drug networks, considerable effort was put into safeguarding vulnerable people. Across the county during the week 39 safe and well checks were conducted.

In Weymouth, four golf ball-sized amounts of suspected crack cocaine and heroin, with a street value of around £15,000, was seized.

DCI Dilworth said: “As part of a week-long intensification through Operation Voltage, working together with specialist units and our partner agencies we have managed to conduct significant disruption.”

During the week an arrest of a man in Bournemouth, led to further enquiries which identified him a wanted by the Metropolitan Police.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, Martyn Underhill, said: ‘’This is a great example of how policing and the community can tackle the invidious crime we call county lines. As well as the arrests and drug seizures, let’s not forget the 39 safe and well checks conducted at local addresses. I would like to thank every single member of staff involved in the operation.

“County lines ruins lives. It isn’t just happening in major cities. It is happening right here in Dorset and I echo the appeal for our residents and communities to work with the Police on tackling this issue. Please read the information on Dorset Police’s website, learn the signs and how to report it and lets all work together to kick county lines out of our county’’.

From the week of action, Dorset Police has been able to provide intelligence updates to several Police Forces including Avon and Somerset, Merseyside Police and Metropolitan Police on county lines operating in Dorset.

DCI Dilworth said: “Whilst I am extremely pleased with the results of last week’s intensification; our work to tackle ‘County Lines’ is ongoing and relentless. I would like to urge people to help us tackle this issue together. I am appealing to anyone who has any information regarding possible drug dealing activities to contact Dorset Police by calling 101 or by contacting Crime Stoppers. Your calls will be treated in the strictest of confidence and together we can make a difference.”