34 arrested in county lines crackdown

34 arrested in county lines crackdown

Published by Maria Greenwood at 12:27pm 21st May 2019.

The arrests were made in just one week.

Officers in Dorset have taken part in a week of action to disrupt the activity of suspected county lines drug dealers in Dorset.

A week of 'intensification' - part of a national effort - saw officers make a total of 34 arrests and carry out five warrants as well as using a range of other methods to highlight the issues surrounding county lines drug dealing and disrupt suspected criminal activity.

County lines drug dealing involves urban criminal networks supplying drugs to other parts of the country using dedicated mobile phone lines.

Drug dealers often use the method known as cuckooing, where they target vulnerable individuals and move into their home to use it as a base to operate a drug supply network.

County lines drugs gangs can also exploit children to courier drugs and money, with youngsters groomed and threatened with violence if they don't comply.

During the week, following a safe and well check in Bridport, officers arrested two men from London, aged 20 and 21, on suspicion of possessing a class A drug with intent to supply and seized a package of suspected class A drugs as well as more than £450 in cash. The men have been released under investigation as police continue to make enquiries.

Further action by police included work with British Transport Police to carry out checks of people suspected of carrying knives at Weymouth train station.

A total of 11 positive road side drug wipes were carried out by the traffic unit during the week, including a woman who tested positive and was arrested on two occasions - once in Weymouth and once in Bournemouth. She has also been released under investigation.

Other arrests across the county included officers stopping a Mercedes Benz in Blandford Road in Poole, revealing more than 50 wraps containing suspected class A drugs as well as weapons including a knuckle duster. And a 29-year-old Bournemouth man and a 45-year-old Bournemouth woman were arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs, with the woman also arrested on suspicion of possessing an offensive weapon in a public place.

Two men, a 28-year-old from Middlesex and a 20-year-old from Surrey, were also arrested on suspicion of possessing class A drugs with intent to supply near to Bournemouth Pier. A total of 126 wraps of suspected class A drugs were seized as well as a total of £550 in cash.

Those arrested in these incidents have been released under investigation.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Dilworth, of Dorset Police, said: "We are committed to disrupting the activity of those suspect of being involved in county lines drug networks and protecting the vulnerable people who are potentially being exploited by them.

"Throughout the week of intensification, as well as taking action against suspected criminals, we have also been supporting people who are at risk of being cuckooed and spreading awareness of the signs to look for that youngsters are being sucked into the drug supply chain.

"All our efforts are aided by the intelligence we gather from the local community and we would urge anyone who has information about suspected drug related activity or concerns that someone is potentially being targeted by drug gangs to report these matters to us."

If you have any information about suspected drug related activity or if you have concerns about vulnerable people who are potentially being exploited, contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk, via email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

More information on county lines and how to spot the relevant signs can be found on our website at www.dorset.police.uk/county-lines.