Councils unwitting recruiters for county lines drugs gangs

Stockport MP Ann Coffey Credit: PA

A new report from a Parliamentary investigation, chaired by Stockport MP Ann Coffey, has found that local councils unwittingly acting as 'recruiting sergeants' for County Lines gangs

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults says that by sending vulnerable children to live miles away from home, councils are making them susceptible to approaches from drugs dealers and paedophiles.

Evidence submitted to the inquiry suggests thousands of children are being put at risk by being moved to children's homes up to 100 miles from where they live. They become isolated from friends, family and social workers.

The inquiry, supported by the Children's Society, heard that local authorities may be inadvertently opening up new 'County Lines' because relocating children who have been groomed to sell heroin and crack cocaine, can create opportunities for criminals to expand their reach into rural, quieter parts of the country.