Dawn raids in Yorkshire see four arrested on county-lines and modern slavery offences

Thirteen people have been arrested on county-lines and modern slavery offences in North Yorkshire and Greater Manchester.

Dawn raids at properties in Moston, Oldham, Failsworth, Limeseide, Chadderton, Ashton-under-Lyne and York resulted in the arrests for conspiracy to supply class A drugs and on suspicion of section 2 of the Modern Slavery Act - arranging travel of a person with view to be exploited.

Police have said that the nine men and four women arrested all remain in custody for questioning.

Four of those arrested, two men aged 48 and 54, and two women aged 41 and 47, were from the York area and were taken into custody by officers from North Yorkshire Police.

The raids took place on Thursday morning Credit: North Yorkshire Police

The raids followed a four-month investigation into the transport of drugs and trafficking of people between Oldham and York.

County Lines is the term used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs into areas across the UK, using dedicated mobile phone lines.

Superintendent Lindsey Butterfield, North Yorkshire Police’s commander for the York and Selby areas, said: "Today’s action is a clear demonstration of how police forces and partner agencies work together to tackle the scourge of county lines drug dealing and sends a very clear message to those who continue to exploit vulnerable people and bring drugs into North Yorkshire – it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be in the same position as those in custody right now.

The action comes as part of a four-month investigation Credit: North Yorkshire Police

"The operation also puts modern slavery in the spotlight and highlights the vulnerability of some of the people who are exploited by drug dealers. Particularly young people who are groomed by criminal gangs and end up in a situation they cannot get out of, being forced to work for drug dealers and facing abuse and violence.  

"To that end, I urge members of the public to look beyond the obvious. Exploited and vulnerable people don’t always look vulnerable, don’t always act like victims, and may not believe or understand that they are being exploited.

"Please look out for the signs and report it, you could help save someone from a life of abuse. As you can see from today’s action, we will act on information."