County lines: Drug lines shutdown as 79 people arrested during crackdown

County lines drugs
Cannabis seized as part of the operation. Credit: NEROCU

An operation tackling cross-border drug dealing has seen 79 arrests and a number of deal lines shutdown as part of action to crackdown on county lines.

North East Regional Organised crime Unit (NEROCU) said "large quantities" of drugs had been seized, including cocaine, heroin and cannabis, as well as cash and weapons.

County lines sees dealers expand their illicit operations through dedicated mobile phone lines which sell substances at low prices. Criminals often use children and young people by grooming them into becoming drug mules.

Machetes and firearms seized. Credit: NEROCU

NEROCU county lines coordinator Ian Randall: "This latest intensification week has delivered more great results, but we want to reassure the region that our commitment to taking action doesn’t end here.

"Our work tackling county lines happens year-round, with dedicated teams building intelligence, shutting down deal lines, arresting suspects and protecting those being exploited.

“Another big part of tackling county lines is also educating young and vulnerable people on the dangers and the signs to look out for. Our amazing safeguarding partners are a vital tool in helping those who are vulnerable to get support and away from crime.

"Illegal drugs are incredibly harmful to users, communities and those being exploited as part of serious and organised crime."

Officers from Northumbria Police, Durham Constabulary and Cleveland Police were involved in the operation, along with prison services, local authorities and safeguarding partners.

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