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  1. ITV Report

County lines crime targeted in new £13 million scheme

Millions is to be invested protecting vulnerable children. Photo: PA

County lines crime is to be targeted in a new multi-million pound scheme designed to steer young people and children away from exploitative gangs.

The Home Office launched a £13 million fund on Sunday to help youth workers, police, nurses and other professionals form protective relationships with vulnerable young people.

Known as "county lines", gangs use children and young people to traffic drugs, using dedicated mobile phones or "lines", into new locations outside of their home areas.

London children are increasingly be exposed to violent methods. Credit: PA

Thousands of London teenagers are among those being targeted and groomed every year to sell drugs in rural towns and villages.

The money, which is brilliant, will train and support those front line practitioners to build up those trusted relationships with young people which is really needed

– Nichole McIntosh, Safer London

But some say much more is needed to properly tackle the problem:

£13 million to get in at ground level and form relationships with these at risk children? It's not going to touch the problem I'm afraid.

– Joan Ryan MP, Labour: Enfield North