Police dismantle 15 county line drug-dealing networks in Hampshire

Meon Valley Times Advertisement

Fifteen county lines drug-dealing networks were dismantled, drugs seized and 64 arrests were made during an intensification week focused on tackling drug related harm and violence in Hampshire.

County lines is a term used to describe organised criminal networks who move illegal drugs out of bigger cities into smaller towns and cities in the UK, using dedicated mobile phone lines or other forms of “deal line.”
Line holders will use runners, often young and vulnerable children, to deliver the drugs. It’s linked to some of the most serious and violent crimes such as human trafficking, modern slavery, and child exploitation.

During the week of action, which ran between March 4th and March 10th, officers across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight relentlessly pursued criminals in an effort to crack down on gangs that bring misery to our communities. They have also been proactive in safeguarding children and vulnerable adults from harm, having safeguarded 58 individuals.

The Force-wide policing activity across Hampshire and Isle of Wight resulted in:

Cocaine 460.5g
Crack 109g
Heroin 25g
Cannabis 3,492.5g
Other MDMA 30 pills
Cash £30,240.89
Phones 94
Weapons 14
Stop-searches 244
Arrests 64

The Drug Related Crime and Harm Tactical Lead for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Constabulary, Chief Inspector Marcus Kennedy, said: “Last week, across Hampshire and Isle of Wight, our officers targeted these County lines, so as to disrupt drug dealing, prevent the exploitation of vulnerable individuals and to relentlessly target criminals who bring drugs and associated violence to our streets.

“This County lines week, there was a specific national focus around the safeguarding of young people, caught up in the running of drugs for county lines. I can tell you that in this week of action alone, Hampshire and IOW officers safeguarded 58 individuals who were being exploited by these awful individuals.

“I will say, that whilst the intensification week has focused on specific County Lines and drug networks, we will continue to target those that choose to exploit others, throughout the year, I don’t apologise for this direct and effective tactic.’’

Advice and support:

  • Crimestoppers – An independent charity, which offers a range of advice and support. Crimes can be reported completely anonymously on 0800 555 111.
  • Missing People’s SafeCall – a confidential and anonymous helpline and support service for young people and family members in England and Wales that are affected by county lines and criminal exploitation. The service also provides confidential support and advice for professionals in relation to their work with an exploited young person or family. Call or text 116000 for free, 9am to 11pm, 7 days a week.
  • Barnardo’s Independent Child Trafficking Guardianship Service – provides an independent source of advice and advocacy for children who have been trafficked and somebody who can speak up on their behalf.
  • NSPCC – provides advice on how to spot the signs and report child exploitation and involvement in gangs.
  • The Children’s Society – a national charity, which aims to protect and support young people from a range of issues, including child exploitation, criminal gangs and violence.

If you have any information or are concerned about someone then you should call the police on 101 to make a report or 999 if there is an immediate risk. If on a train text British Transport Police on 61016.

Meon Valley Times Advertisement