Police seize £10k and arrest 16 people in county lines operation
PUBLISHED: 10:59 01 October 2020 | UPDATED: 10:59 01 October 2020
Police in Avon and Somerset seized £10,000 in cash and made 16 arrests during a week-long action against county lines drug dealing and exploitation of vulnerable people.
One check on a hotel in Weston led to two arrests, causing the disruption of a new county line in the area. Those arrested were charged and remanded in custody.
Officers visited more than 100 hotels and B&Bs, to offer information and support to businesses, while gathering intelligence about county lines activity.
Offences ranged from drugs supply, possession of weapons and theft and officers removed various items including knives, a machete, a hammer and an axe; and a large amount of suspected class A drugs, 14 mobile phones and a vehicle.
The National County Line Co-Ordination Centre (NCLCC), led the initiative, in partnership with local authorities, key service providers and other police forces.
This was to ensure a collaborative sharing of information and resources to dismantle county lines networks which cross police force borders.
Detective Chief Inspector, Kerry Paterson, from Avon and Somerset Constabulary said: “The results achieved from this week of action shows how much can be achieved by taking a partnership approach not just with other police forces, but also with local authorities, schools, communities, and industries and professions who have interest in keeping vulnerable people safe.
“These drug dealers are ruthless individuals who are causing harm to our communities.
“They will target young vulnerable children and adults and make them false promises of wealth and safety in exchange for dealing illegal substances.
“These victims are often made to live in fear; constantly subjected to exploitation, threats, violence, and will be made to live in filthy conditions.”
Working with housing providers and support workers, officers visited more than 70 addresses, thought to have been, or at risk of being cuckooed.
Police also spoke to more than 40 adults considered at risk of being exploited by dealers to offer support and signpost them to relevant support services.
Officers used the week as an opportunity to engage with communities and young people about the issue, visiting more than 20 schools, providing help, information and guidance about gangs, grooming and exploitation.
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