County Lines: 140-plus arrests, drug seizures and protecting children
There was no hiding place for drug dealers who plague our communities as we worked with neighbouring forces to target County Lines supply chains in a week-long offensive.
All last week (11-17 Oct) we hit the homes of people suspected of running cannabis, crack cocaine and heroin supply networks from the West Midlands.
We arrested 143 people, seized 630 wraps of Class A drugs and 3,400 cannabis plants, plus recovered weapons including firearms and more than 30 knives and machetes.
Our officers – who worked alongside police in Warwickshire, West Mercia and Staffordshire in cross-border operations – also recovered nearly £30,000 in cash and dozens of suspected ‘burner’ phones suspected of being used as drugs hotlines.
They will be examined by investigators as we look to bring down County Lines gangs who exploit children and vulnerable people to move drugs from the West Midlands into shire counties and smaller towns.
Superintendent Wendy Bailey, our lead for County Lines, said: “These gangs are ruthless: they use people as commodities, coercing or threatening them to deal drugs on their behalf. It’s not rare for these people, including children, to be attacked by rival drugs gangs.
“Last week was really successful: we executed 43 warrants during as we went after offenders and ran operations at transport hubs, and on the road and rail network, looking for people moving drugs.
“But importantly we also carried out work aimed at protecting children from exploitation and to raise awareness of tactics used by drugs gangs.
“Officers visited care homes and schools, spoke to staff at hotels and taxi firms so they know the signs to be aware of, and ex-offenders now working as mentors with the charity St Giles came in to share their experiences with our officers.
“This was a week of joint activity with other forces and charities but rest assured we are targeting County Lines gangs every day of the week.”
Our website has more information and advice on County Lines, including advice if you fear a child is being exploited to run drugs and the signs to look out for: https://west-midlands.police.uk/your-options/county-lines