Officers across the North West have been carrying out a range of activities as part of a national focus to tackle county lines drug supply, which has led to the arrest of more than 130 people and the seizure of significant quantities of heroin, crack cocaine and other illegal drugs.

The intensification week took place between Monday 17 May and Sunday 23 May and saw officers from across the six North West forces coming together to target county lines gangs and safeguard the children and vulnerable adults they exploit. 

During the week, enforcement activity involved executing search warrants, gathering intelligence and arresting people already serving prison sentences on new evidence.

Across the region, 133 arrests were made, 6 weapons seized, £181,064 of cash seized as well as significant quantities of class A drugs and 13kg of cannabis. 

Officers also visited 37 cuckooed addresses and safeguarded 118 vulnerable adults and young people. 

County Lines is when criminal gangs from cities across the UK use violence and intimidation to expand their drug network both within their local region and also out into suburban areas, such as market and coastal towns across the country.

They exploit young people and vulnerable adults to move, store and sell the drugs and 'cuckoo' the homes of vulnerable or drug-addicted people, taking them over and using their property as a drugs base.

The gangs use a single mobile phone line to communicate with drugs users, often making up to £5k per day. There are estimated to be 600 potential active county lines per month across the country.

Adam Cooke, Regional County Lines Co-ordinator from the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit said: “Throughout the week-long operation we have been working together with our six North West police forces and our partners to dismantle county lines networks, so that we can protect the young and vulnerable people who are exploited by them.

“As well as the significant arrests and seizures we've collectively made, we have closed down 5 'deal lines' and seized 54 mobile phones.

“We work tirelessly with the forces across the North West to tackle county lines all year round, to strengthen our regional response to these drug dealing gangs, and will continue to do so going forward.”

"These gangs often groom children into county lines with the promise of cash, status, drugs and friendship, then use violence and threats to get them to do their 'dirty work' for them.

"It's important that we all recognise the signs of exploitation, so we can play our part in helping the vulnerable adults and young people to get the help they desperately need.
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