Police arrest 39 and seize £250,000 of drugs and cash in County Lines raids

Police have arrested 39 people, and seized £250,000 of drugs and cash, after a week of raids against suspected County Lines gangs.

Officers broke down doors across Greater Manchester, seizing £160,000 worth of drugs including heroin, crack and cocaine. They also seized £90,000 in cash.

In 32 raids, they also referred 42 children into safeguarding who were allegedly being exploited and discovered three firearms, hunting knives, machetes, knuckle dusters, swords and axes.

Drugs and mobile phones were seized at several locations. Credit: GMP

County Lines refers to drug gangs from big cities like Manchester and Liverpool using violence and intimidation to expand their networks to smaller towns, in particular suburban areas.

The drug dealers exploit and use children and vulnerable people to sell drugs. They also use dedicated mobile phone lines, known as "deal lines," to take orders from drug users.

Tackling County Lines is "one of the force's priority areas," say GMP. Credit: GMP

Greater Manchester Police describe the raids as an "intensification" of their work to dismantle County Lines networks, and part of a week of action by authorities nationwide.

Detective Chief Inspector Claire McGuire said: "This is one of the force's priority areas, as we know that this can have a huge impact on individuals and communities.

"It often involves criminal exploitation of children and vulnerable adults that physically move the drugs and collect the money from the users. Where county lines operate, we regularly see anti-social behaviour linked to drug dealing, as well as serious violence, which we understand can leave residents feeling anxious."

The force say they rely on communities across Greater Manchester and beyond providing information on suspected drug dealing.