Daily Star


- By OLIVER PRITCHARD oliver.pritchard@dailystar.co.uk

A HEARTLESS county lines drugs enforcer claims his young recruits call him “dad”.

The man, known only as Martin, said he is the only father figure the children have ever had. He currently has 12 youngsters working for him, some of them not even teenagers.

Three were recruited within the past week from a northern town.

But Martin claims he could have “an army” of kids in the same area in little over a week. Speaking just days after a suspected county lines gang was arrested on suspicion of grooming 40 children from a school in Swindon, Wilts,

Martin described himself as a “floor manager” in the gang.

The career crook, who nets up to £10,000 a week profit through the illicit trade, said his new recruits are all school leavers.

He said: “They are a good age, around 16. They are keen as mustard. In total around 12 work for me.

“They are good at that age because they are keen and fresh. They want money. Other people have got jobs and apprentice­ships but there are only so many jobs.

“I can practicall­y stand outside college and the careers office and pick them up. The kids comes to me. Friends of friends, or their mates. I reckon I could recruit an army about 50 in 10 days if I wanted.”

Martin said the youngsters “want money, nice houses, mopeds, fancy shoes, you name it”. He added: “I do not think they’re groomed. Once you’ve got them under your wing you put work into them. Give them a bit of your time – you expect a bit of loyalty back.”

He said the kids involved are getting younger than before because police are less likely to search them when they transport the drugs to regional towns. And because he lives several hours’ drive away from where the drugs are sold, he uses GPS trackers to monitor the kids’ movements.

“It is handy,” he said. “Especially with the younger ones, you tend to worry if anything happens to them. But I can’t guarantee their safety.

“I can’t afford to have a conscience. I wouldn’t do what I do if I did because ultimately people die, and (drugs) destroy homes. I put that straight out of my mind.” of

 ??  ?? DANGER: Weapons ■ RECRUITER: County Lines gang boss ‘Martin’ in drugs kitchen
DANGER: Weapons ■ RECRUITER: County Lines gang boss ‘Martin’ in drugs kitchen
 ??  ??
 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom