THREE people have been arrested by police who have uncovered a new County Line operation which has been bringing Class A drugs into Malvern and Ledbury.
West Mercia Police is working to identify and stop further individuals from big cities bringing drugs into rural communities and smaller towns.
As part of the arrests, officers have identified the ‘line phone’ – the mobile phone used by those involved to arrange the sale of the drugs.
Searches in Birmingham also led to a large quantity of Class As which were destined for Worcestershire and Herefordshire towns and villages.
Det Sgt Andy Mowen said: ““What is important to remember is that the world surrounding the distribution and consumption of drugs, whatever their class, is not a victimless world.
“Young people, our children, our classmates, are being targeted and exploited by those who will use violence and intimidation if they don’t get what they want.
“It is not an exciting world, it isn’t like the movies or TV – these criminal gangs will use children or teenagers who are sold on a made-up, fantasy version of what being part of a gang is like, and they are at serious risk from harm once they are involved.”
County lines drug dealers often exploit children and younger people by recruiting them to run drugs and cash between urban and county locations and to deal drugs on their behalf.
Once recruited into county lines it can be difficult for those being exploited to leave, with fear and threats of violence used to keep them in place.
DS Mowen also warned vulnerable adults, including addicts, would also be targeted and could be at risk of cuckooing – where drug dealers take over their properties to sell their substances.
“Operations like this will remind the more central figures in these organised crime gangs that we can get to them and we will hunt them down – Herefordshire and Worcestershire are not a safe place for them.”
Anyone with suspicions that a property is being used to sell drugs, or that a young and vulnerable individual may be getting involved with county lines drug dealing can report this online under the Tell Us About section at westmercia.police.uk or by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
More information for children and young people about county lines can be found by visiting Fearless www.fearless.org/
Fearless is a site where people can access non-judgemental information and advice about crime and criminality.