1. ITV Report

Four arrested after 'county lines' drug gangs operation

Police arrest four men in operation to to disrupt 'county lines' drug gangs Photo: ITV Meridan

Four men have been arrested in Wiltshire as part of an operation to disrupt 'county lines' drug gangs in the area.

A 24-year-old Swindon man was arrested on suspicion of being involved in the supply of 50 wraps of class A drugs. He has been released under investigation.

Nevo Aguira, 23, who's from London but linked to Swindon, was arrested on suspicion of being involved in the supply of class A drugs and subsequently charged and remanded in custody.

A 17-year-old man from Swindon was arrested and charged with the possession of offensive weapons - two knuckle dusters and a baton. He has been released on unconditional bail.

Another man, also 17 from Swindon, was arrested on suspicion of possession with the intent to supply class A drugs and the possession of cannabis. He has been released on conditional bail.

Police said a week-long period of intensive law enforcement activity has led to the seizure of multiple weapons, drugs and cash which subsequently led to the arrests.

Wiltshire Police's campaign poster Credit: Wiltshire Police

Police said they also found a number of young and vulnerable people at risk of being exploited by drugs gangs. These are now being safeguarded through on-going multi-agency work.

"County lines is everyone's responsibility and I would urge members of the public to be vigilant and look out for some of the most visible signs that county lines drugs gangs are operating in neighbourhoods and to report this to police.

"Together with our partner agencies across Swindon and Wiltshire, we work hard to identify where county lines are exploiting vulnerable children and adults, to proactively disrupt these networks and to safeguard and protect those at risk of harm. The intelligence we receive from our communities is crucial in helping us, our partner agencies and neighbouring forces tackle county lines.

"By raising awareness of the issue, I hope more people will be able to spot the signs and feel comfortable in reporting information to the police. Your call could save lives."

– Head of Crime Prevention for Wiltshire Police Sonja Leith
Credit: ITV Meridian

"Those who travel from large metropolitan cities and target vulnerable people in Wiltshire are mistaken if they think they can get away with it.

"Alongside our partners, Wiltshire Police will continue to reduce harm and prevent crime caused by substance misuse.

"Drugs is not a victim-less crime. The impact it can have on individuals and communities can be devastating. Vulnerable people are being threatened and exploited, often in their own homes.

"But we can't tackle this alone, I would urge the residents of Wiltshire and Swindon to help us combat drug supply -the police often rely on information from the public to build up an intelligence picture. Please continue to help by reporting any information to 101."

– Angus Macpherson, Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindo

"Our Swindon and Wiltshire service, IMPACT, provides support, information and treatment to anyone with drug and/or alcohol problems. We have been working closely with Wiltshire Police and other local partners to ensure that any victims of the county lines that may have a substance misuse problem are aware of the support that is available to them and fast tracked into treatment if needed.

"If you are worried about your or someone else's drug or alcohol use, call us on one of these numbers below:

Swindon Hub: 01793 328150 Trowbridge Hub: 01225 341520 Salisbury Hub: 01722 343000."

– Ben Judd, Senior Operations Manager at Turning Point