A WEEK-LONG crackdown on county lines drug gangs in West Mercia has seen 21 people arrested and more than £6,000 worth of cash linked to dealing seized. along with illegal substances.
The operation was carried out by the force as part of County Lines Intensification Week, led by the National Crime Agency.
During the week, six warrants were executed and heroin and crack cocaine seized by police across Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire.
Officers also visited 55 ‘cuckooed’ homes where officers believed drug dealers were exploiting vulnerable people.
Ch Supt Damian Barratt said: “West Mercia Police is no different to any other police force across the country where county lines drug dealers are exploiting vulnerable children, young people and adults.
“Organised crime groups are targeting our local communities, exploiting vulnerable people to transport drugs into our counties often, in a practice known as cuckooing, taking over the homes of vulnerable people to further facilitate drug dealing.
“These groups are often involved in serious violence and do not think twice about putting young and vulnerable people in frightening situations, causing them to make decisions that can ultimately change their lives and the lives of others forever and we’re determined to do all we can to stop this from happening.”
He added the force was committed to tackling serious and organised crime as part of Operation Protect.
The County Lines Intensification Week was an example of the work teams carried out 24/7, 365 days to protect people from harm.
Visit fearless.org for more on the signs someone is involved in county lines dealing – Fearless is a website aimed at children and young people which includes advice and support about crime.
Children and Young People can also anonymously report any concerns or information they have on the site.
Go to the Tell Us About section of of the West Mercia Police website – westmercia.police.uk – or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 to convey information about county lines drug dealing.