15 ar­rested af­ter po­lice swoop in county lines raids

Western Morning News (Saturday) - - Uk And World News -

Po­lice in­ves­ti­gat­ing an al­leged County Lines drugs sup­ply oper­a­tion in Devon have car­ried out raids across the coun­try.

Mem­bers of an or­gan­ised crime group in Mersey­side are said to have re­lo­cated to the south-east to tar­get vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple and store drugs in the area. Other gang mem­bers in Devon and South Wales have al­legedly con­spired to­gether with their Mersey­side coun­ter­parts to ar­range the sup­ply and dis­tri­bu­tion of heroin and co­caine in Ply­mouth, Ex­eter and Tor­bay, and am­phet­a­mine in South Wales.

On Thurs­day, a to­tal of 15 peo­ple were ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of drugs of­fences fol­low­ing the ex­e­cu­tion of around 30 war­rants by the North West Re­gional Or­gan­ised Crime Unit.

Four peo­ple were ar­rested in Mersey­side with a fur­ther eight ar­rested in Devon and Corn­wall and three in South Wales. Heroin, co­caine and am­phet­a­mine with a to­tal es­ti­mated street value of £5mil­lion has been seized.

De­tec­tive Chief In­spec­tor Ian Hussey, of Mersey­side Po­lice, said: “Vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple are be­ing co­erced, groomed and threat­ened by vi­o­lence to take part in il­le­gal ac­tiv­ity across the north-west and fur­ther afield.

“We are tar­get­ing those peo­ple we be­lieve are ex­ploit­ing vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple to profit from the mis­ery of oth­ers.”

“Along­side our col­leagues at the North West Re­gional Or­gan­ised Crime Unit and forces around the coun­try, we will use a range of tac­tics to put a stop your crim­i­nal­ity and take you off our streets.“We have also been work­ing with a range of part­ners, to go into schools and youth groups, to ed­u­cate vul­ner­a­ble young peo­ple on how they can avoid be­com­ing a tar­get to these crim­i­nal groups.”

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