Gun, knives and drugs seized in North Yorkshire in joint operation to tackle county lines

The activity focused on York and Selby Credit: ITV News

Thirty-two people have been arrested as part of a 48-hour police operation to crack down on county lines drug dealing between North Yorkshire and Liverpool.

A team of 100 officers from Merseyside and North Yorkshire Police shared intelligence to carry out warrants as well as seize drugs, vehicles and weapons.

As North Yorkshire towns and cities are often targeted by gangs bringing in drugs from bigger cities in other counties, the initiative focused on York and Selby on 10 and 11 January.

Weapons seized as part of the operation Credit: North Yorkshire Police

In Selby, plain-clothed officers spotted a man throwing an object in a canal. Underwater search units later recovered a weapon believed to have been linked to criminal activity.

A 21-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of possessing a firearm, while a 35-year-old man was also arrested on suspicion of the same offence and possession with intent to supply a class B drug.

They both remain in police custody. 

Det Ch insp Carol Kirk, of North Yorkshire Police, said gangs "see us an affluent [area], particularly with York".

She said: "We want to make sure we're making it a hostile environment for them to operate".

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The operation was part of Project Medusa, an initiative funded by the Home Office to tackle drug dealing and the criminal exploitation of young people and vulnerable adults.

Det Ch Insp Kirk added: “Project Medusa is one of the largest operations that North Yorkshire Police has ever seen.

“This is two days of activity, and we won’t stop here. We will continue our relentless pursuit to protect our communities from harm and ensure that North Yorkshire remains one of the safest places to live.”

32 people were arrested during the operation Credit: ITV News

North Yorkshire Police Ch Con Elliot Foskett said the activity "gives us a foothold into the criminal justice system for those people where we have evidence".

"We gain more intelligence on where they're operating, how they're operating," he said.

County lines is a term used to describe criminal activity linked to drug dealers in major cities who establish networks for the supply and sale of drugs to users in towns and rural areas. They tend to use young and vulnerable people to carry, store, and sell drugs.

Insp Stephen Morris from Merseyside Police said: "For us it's about working in partnership with other forces so when people are being exploited from Liverpool into Yorkshire we'll send teams up here to target the county lines drug dealers."

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