Cash, weapons and drugs seized as 43 arrested in county lines crackdown

131022 county lines devon and cornwall police
A total of 43 people have been arrested for drug-related offences Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

More than 40 people have been arrested as part of a police crackdown on county lines drug dealing which also saw weapons and almost £11k in cash seized.

Drugs with an estimated value of £35,000 were taken off the streets during the week-long operation.

Police in Devon and Cornwall said it has safeguarded 68 people.

County lines drug dealing sees gangs use children and vulnerable adults to courier drugs and money from the gang’s base to customers in towns across Devon and Cornwall.

The gangs also use mobile phone messaging and social media platforms to advertise drugs for sale.

The force said cuckooing - where criminals take over a person's home - is also a problem.

A national week of action has just taken place and 43 people were arrested in Devon and Cornwall.

Offences included possession with intent to supply, importation of a banned substance, possession of an offensive weapon, and driving under the influence of a banned substance.

Police teams also intervened with young people at hotspots where people are known to buy and use drugs.

The hotspots were identified through intelligence, with police then carrying out high-visibility patrols in those areas.

Inspector Ryan Northmore said: “Information reported to us by the public and partner agencies is compiled with intelligence gathered by officers to give us the best picture possible about what is happening in our communities.

"We use this to look at where best to target our resources and tackle the issues that have been identified. 

“A significant part of county lines drug dealing is around exploitation of the vulnerable and that is a key focus for us.

"Safeguarding can take a range of forms including referring people to our Community Safety Partners and drug treatment services, promoting education programmes delivered by the Children’s Society and engaging with those at risk.

County Lines is the term used to describe the use of mobile phones to supply drugs from large cities to towns and rural areas Credit: Lauren Hurley/PA

“I would urge everyone to be aware of the signs of exploitation and report any relevant information to us.

“The message is simple – there is no place for drugs here and we will continue to relentlessly pursue those who intend to bring drugs and harm to our communities.”

If you’re being ‘cuckooed’ or think you know someone who is, contact the police by reporting online or calling 101.