Drugs crimes in Cumbria leads to almost 230 years in prison in last year

County lines operations are an issue in Cumbria

Almost 230 years of jail sentences connected to drugs crimes have been handed out in Cumbria over the last year, according to newly-published figures.

Officers from Cumbria Constabulary also made 200 arrests related to drug dealing and seized millions of pounds-worth of illegal substances.

The force has also worked to help vulnerable people caught up in the drugs trade.

Officers though have emphasised that tackling this type of crime depends on information from the public, using the slogan 'Suspect it? Report it! And our officers will do their best to stop it.'The force is particularly focussed on tackling county lines drugs crime, under the banner of Operation Rampart. This is the termused for a crime network trafficking drugs using dedicated mobile phone lines to sell drugs that are trafficked into other places, usually across county boundaries.

Officers have issued a series of tell-tale signs to watch out for.

Spot the signs on your street

  • New faces or accents in the neighbourhood

  • Lots of different and regular visitors to a home

  • Increase in obviously drug-related activity

 Spot the signs in children and young people

  • Change in behaviour

  • New friends

  • Going missing

  • Unexplained injuries

  • Unexplained new possessions, such as phones or clothes

  • Unexplained travel, such as going on trains and coaches on their own

  • New, more risk-taking behaviour

  • Substance abuse

Spot the signs in vulnerable people

  • Regular visitors to their home

  • New, unexplained visitors or support network

  • Becoming cut-off or estranged from family or existing friends or support network

  • New risk-taking behaviour

  • Substance abuse

Detective Chief Superintendent Dean Holden said: ”Drug supply can involve the exploitation of some the most vulnerable members of the community: children, young people and vulnerable adults.

“The people involved in this use and abuse our communities and line their pockets by ruining lives and badly affecting the neighbourhoods you live in.

“They blight the lives of the people working for them and exploited by them, cause addiction in the people buying their drugs and then there are the knock-on effect of anti-social behaviour and associated crime.”

Det Chief Supt Holden added: “We’ve had a lot of success stopping drugs criminals and dismantling major county lines across Cumbria in recent years and work with our partners has led to people being taken out of the reach of these organised crime groups and safeguarded."

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall said: “Selling illegal substances and taking drugs is never acceptable, there are no acceptable excuses. Those with an addiction to legal drugs can also face punishment for endangering the lives of others whilst high.

“It’s important to shine a spotlight on the fantastic work from a wide variety of teams within the force and the significant results achieved, especially in the reduction of large-scale organised crime groups over the last year two years.

“However, there is no place for complacency. 

“To keep Cumbria’s streets safe from drugs crime, the police need your help to bring these criminals to justice, so please do get in touch if you have any suspicions, as your call can help save someone from falling prey to these dangerous criminal gangs.” 

Anyone with information can report online here or call 101. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

How to get help if you're worried about drug useIf you are worried about your own, or someone else’s drug use, help is available.

Recovery Steps Cumbria provides free and confidential support at locations across the county.

Call 01900 512300, email referrals@recoverystepscumbria.org.uk or click here for more information.