Police hunting Organised Crime Gangs swoop on students during 13 County Lines raids in Northamptonshire
Coacine worth £10k seized, kids safeguarded and 18 arrested in week-long crackdown
Police arrested 18 people during a week-long crackdown on County Lines drug gangs across Northamptonshire and the East Midlands.
Officers seized crack cocaine with a street value of £10,000 from one of 13 addresses raided.
Weapons including machetes and knives were also recovered during a series of swoops in the county and a number of mobile phones helped identify a string of drug lines into and out of the county.
Three children were safeguarded and four potential ‘cuckooed’ addresses visits between May 17 and May 23.
The raids — which also included a university halls of residence in Northampton, where one woman was arrested — were part of a national campaign against organised crime using youngsters as drugs couriers across different areas.
Detective Superintendent Lee McBride, Northamptonshire's lead for Serious Organised Crime, said: “Last week the Chief Constable announced his matters of priority, the four key areas this Force will focus on over the next twelve months.
"One of these is serious organised crime and this includes county lines activity.
“Vulnerable people are exploited by criminal networks every single day in this county.
"Last week’s activity is an example of the work we’ll be doing to disrupt criminal networks and safeguard the vulnerable.
"We will work relentlessly to target those who cause misery in our communities by exploiting the vulnerable – often with threats and violence – for their own personal gain.
"We’re also increasing intelligence operations on crime bosses, disrupting drug supply and working with partners to reduce demand for drugs by getting to the root causes of addiction and offering help and support to those affected.”
Earlier this year, Northamptonshire Police revealed 72 people had been sentenced to a combined 221 years in jail for drugs offences since its Operation Poetry undercover operation started in 2019.
More than £1.3m of drugs had been taken off the streets in an effort to stamp out County Lines gangs.
National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for county lines, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty, added: “The police response to county lines has increased substantially over the past 18 months, we have been relentless in pursuing those behind the line whilst doing everything possible to rescue those being exploited.
“Intensification weeks like this allow us to dedicate a burst of activity and resources nationally, highlighting to the public our absolute determination to rid communities of this abhorrent crime.
“We will use all the powers available to us to tackle every element of the county line network because we know the effect violence and crimes associated with county lines can have in our communities.
“It is vital that everyone looks out for the signs of exploitation. This may be a child with unexplained cash, a new expensive phone or clothing, suddenly going missing, in possession of rail tickets or taxi receipts, a change in behaviour and new people suddenly appearing at a house or flat.
"If you are concerned then please contact your local police force on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”