Merseyside Police take part in multi-force "county-lines" crackdown

Merseyside Police have arrested over 100 people and seized an estimated £300,000 worth of drugs in a crackdown on County Lines.

Working in connection with British Transport Police, as well as forces across the country, police carried out operations in a number of locations including visiting the homes of vulnerable people to carry out safeguarding checks.

County Lines is the term given to drug movement from large city gangs to rural areas.

The process usually involves drugs being moved by young and vulnerable people who are often forced into taking part.

Operations were carried out in Liverpool, Barrow, Northumbria and Cheshire, with police seizing over £12,000 in cash and a number of weapons.

The crackdown is part of national "intensification" week, which took place from September 14-20.

Anne Rannard, Regional County Lines Co-ordinator from the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit said: "Throughout the week-long operation we have been working together with our six North West police forces and our partners to dismantle county lines networks, so that we can protect the young and vulnerable people who are exploited by them."As well as the significant arrests and seizures we've collectively made, we have engaged with more than 400 vulnerable adults and young people and visited 49 cuckooed addresses across the North West."Tackling county lines and its consequences continues to be priority for us and we will continue to work with forces and our partners to strengthen our regional response to county lines."

Merseyside Police said that 268 vulnerable young people were spoken to, with education and care home visits also being made.

Inspector Kate Wilkinson, Merseyside Police County Lines Co-ordination Unit, said: "As this activity shows, we're committed to working alongside other forces and agencies to have a real impact on the issue of County Lines.

"We have a dedicated team to carry out operations, education and safeguarding, and the joint working with forces such as Cumbria, Northumbria and Cheshire means that crossing borders doesn't make it harder to detect criminals on the move."Everything we do is about working together to recognise the signs, protect the vulnerable and remove those who exploit those people from the streets."