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Lincolnshire Police crackdown on County Lines by making 14 arrests and issuing warning notices in Stamford and Skegness

Police have arrested 14 people and helped six vulnerable people – including a mother and son – who were at risk of being exploited by drug dealers during a crackdown.

Lincolnshire Police says it has seized weapons, drugs and cash along during a week-long campaign to tackle the County Lines drug dealers – which also included issuing warning notices to tenants in Stamford and Skegness.

Cambridgeshire Police stated earlier that it raided a Crowland property along with 30 others during an operation which resulted in 60 arrests and 51 County Lines operations smashed.

Lincolnshire Police have supported the County Lines crackdown PHOTO: CAMBRIDGESHIRE POLICE
Lincolnshire Police have supported the County Lines crackdown PHOTO: CAMBRIDGESHIRE POLICE

County Lines involves the use of mobile phones to supply drugs from large cities to rural areas. But this system often leads to serious violence and exploitation of children and vulnerable adults who are brought in to run the drugs, through coercion, intimidation, violence – including sexual violence – and weapons.

Detective Inspector Gail Hurley from the Force Intelligence Bureau, said: "The criminals operating County Lines prey on the most vulnerable members of society, pulling them in to a world of exploitation, danger, and fear. With that activity comes related crime, often violent, and this is why we make it a priority to target County Lines throughout the year.

“For this latest intensification week, we have focused on prevention and education because arming people with the knowledge of how to avoid becoming enticed into that life, or how to spot the signs and take action, is one of the key ways to tackle it.

"Our communities pay a hug part in the success of cracking down on County Lines activity by providing much-needed intelligence around drug-dealing, suspicious activity, or vulnerability, and we would encourage people to continue to do this."

Lincolnshire supported the National County Lines Intensification Week, which coordinated by the National County Lines Coordination Centre (NCLCC), and ran from March 4 to 10.

Highlights of the operation in Lincolnshire include:

- A warrant carried out in Gordon Street, Gainsborough on 4 March which led to the seizure of 100g cannabis resin and £520 in cash;

- The arrest of two people on suspicion of possession of weapons, both from the Bedfordshire area and who had links to a County Line in Warwickshire;

- A multi-agency operation with police, housing providers, and local authorities to visit 32 addresses across the county suspected of being connected with County Lines activity through cuckooing, with 288 households near to those properties also being provided with leaflets on cuckooing;

- One woman, four men, and one boy at risk of being exploited safeguarded

- Two Section 8 notices issued in Stamford and Skegness, which informs the tenant of a property that they are liable for prosecution if drugs activity takes place at their address;

- One closure order issued;

- One mother and adult son moved to emergency accommodation pending a permanent move.

Over the week of action, 24,280 shoppers at Lincolnshire Co-operative stores people heard messaging about how to spot the signs of County Lines and cuckooing - which is where the home of a vulnerable person is taken over by drug dealers.

The Lincolnshire Police Youth Engagement Team also delivered interactive sessions on County Lines to young people across three schools, engaging directly with 550 people.

The Skegness Accommodation Watch was launched to provide local business members with guidance on spotting the signs of exploitation, protecting those who may be vulnerable and reporting mechanisms. A meeting for that was attended by 11 establishments, while 12 taxi licencing managers from local authorities were given training at Lincolnshire Police HQ, supported by Crimestoppers and the Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN).

Neighbourhood Policing Teams also spent time visiting high-end retail shops including fashion, sports, jewellery, and buy-back shops, as well as libraries, hospitals, and shopping centres to promote awareness and spotting signs around County Lines and child exploitation using #LookCloser material.

If you have concerns about someone you know being involved in County Lines, you can find out more here: https://www.lincs.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/cl/county-lines/

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