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Many arrests made in war on drugs in Derbyshire

County Lines is a term used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks involved in moving illegal drugs from one area of the country, or county, to another. The networks use dedicated mobile phone lines or another form of ‘deal line’ to conduct their transactions. They are likely to exploit children and vulnerable adults to move [and store] the drugs and money. They will often use coercion, intimidation, violence (including sexual violence) and weapons.

During the County Lines intensification week (Monday 3 October – Sunday 9 October) officers undertook planned warrants and enforcement activity arresting 13 people, six of whom were later charged and remanded to court.

 A large quantity of Crack Cocaine, Heroin and other class A and B drugs were recovered, as well as £2500 in cash, and a variety of weapons including knives, a machete, knuckle duster and an axe.

Work during the week also focused on community and business engagement, in a bid to raise awareness and encourage people to spot the signs of county lines activity.

This included a collaboration with the Children’s Society, and Derby County Football Club, to share imagery from their #LookCloser campaign at Pride Park Football stadium. The campaign centres around the key signs of child exploitation and urges people to report any concerns to police.

Detective Chief Inspector Matt Croome, who leads Derbyshire Constabulary’s Exploitation team said:

“We are really pleased to share, what is just a snippet, of the dedicated and ongoing work which our County Lines team and the wider force achieve throughout the year.

“County Lines is underpinned by the exploitation of vulnerable people, and we often identify hidden victims, who either lack the means or feel unable to make themselves known to the police.

“As such proactive work around County Lines is essential to prevent more and more victims becoming entrenched within the business model of organised crime gangs.

“These gangs are ruthless and will use violence and intimidation, to achieve their aims, often bringing associated criminality to the communities they inhabit.

“Intensification weeks offer us the opportunity to shine a light on this type of crime and to raise awareness of the signs which the public may be able to spot in young people who are being exploited.

“These can include changes in behaviour, new friends, new possessions, skipping school and going missing.

“If you do have concerns about exploitation of a young or vulnerable person, please contact us via one of the following methods.”

You can find out more about the signs of exploitation via the Children’s Society’s #LookCloser campaign.

You can also anonymously contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111, or by visiting the Crimestoppers website.

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