Officers targeting County Lines gangs in Derbyshire have arrested ten people and seized drugs, weapons, and thousands of pounds in cash during a national week of action.
Throughout the week (Monday 11 October – Sunday 17 October) officers from the force’s specialist County Lines teams targeted those trafficking and selling drugs across Derbyshire.
County lines typically involves gangs selling their illicit products in other towns using a dedicated phone line. These offenders are often linked to serious violence and use intimidation, grooming and exploitation, particularly of young or vulnerable people, to run networks across the country.
During the week of action officers arrested ten people in connection with County Lines activity. They also seized cocaine worth more than a thousand pounds and £29,455 in cash believed to be linked to drug dealing.
The teams also confiscated a machete, an extendable baton, a lock knife, and a CS spray cannister.
Detective Inspector Tom Wagg, who leads the team that targets County Lines gangs in the south of the county, said: “County Lines is one of the top risk areas in Derbyshire – with those involved thinking nothing of the damage their drugs do to our communities.
“They are also unconcerned about using serious violence to ensure their market is retained and will use young and vulnerable people to sell and distribute their drugs for them.
“The work does not stop simply because the intensification week has – as a force we constantly target and proactively work to take these criminals off the streets every day of the year.”
As well as arresting those involved and seizing their drugs and money another key tool in the fight against county lines is helping safeguard vulnerable victims.
Detective Inspector Gaz Smethem, who leads the north division Organised Crime team in Chesterfield, said: “County Lines gangs will exploit vulnerable drug users, taking over their home and use threats and violence to keep their victims from coming forward.
“During the last week of action 25 vulnerable people have been spoken to and helped to ensure they are not being exploited by gangs and that they have the support to ensure they do not become a victim.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster said: “I have spoken directly to officers who work tirelessly to dismantle different ‘lines’ in Derbyshire.
“Their determination is impressive, and the commitment is clear, illustrated by these results.
“County Lines is a particularly heartless crime, where offenders prey on young and vulnerable people coercing them to carry out criminal acts on their behalf.
“Usually, this type of crime is hidden in plain sight and I urge anyone who suspects that things are not as they should be to report it to the Police.”
Some of the signs that a County Lines may be operating in the area you live are:
- People entering the property
- Cars or bikes outside the property
- Anti-social behaviour
- Litter outside
- People coming and going at strange times
There may also be:
- Damage to the door, or the door being propped open
- Unknown people pressing buttons to gain access to the building
- You have not seen the resident recently, or when you have, they have been anxious or distracted
- No engagement with family or services
- The resident will not open the door of their property
- Phone disconnected
If you have information about drug dealing in your area you can report it via the following methods:
- Facebook– send us a private message to /DerbyshireConstabulary
- Twitter– direct message our contact centre on @DerPolContact
- Website– complete the online contact form police.uk/Contact-Us.
- Phone – call us on 101.
You can also anonymously contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111 or by visiting www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
If there is a crime happening there and then, especially if someone may be in danger, then always call 999.