This is our new podcast Air Time, where ITV Evening News presenter Mary Nightingale is joined by ITV News correspondents and producers to take you behind the scenes and reveal the story behind getting big stories on the air, plus take a deeper dive into the issues raised by their reports.
In this first episode, Mary is joined by National Editor Allegra Stratton to talk about the practice of county lines - where young children are groomed and exploited by organised crime groups who send them the length and breadth of the UK to carry drugs and money. It is now a well known problem being tackled by police, but back in 2016, county lines was a little known phrase that hadn't hit the headlines - until an ITV News report by Allegra revealed it to a national audience.
Allegra was given a leaked Home Office document which described it as a “new type of organised crime” that is “unreported”. In the following three years, Allegra has continued to report on the growing problem. In this episode, she reveals how she first came to learn about county lines, and the encounters she's since had with victims and their parents.
Subscribe to Air Time to hear more from our correspondents and producers about the story behind the stories they cover.