County lines activity in Aylesbury Vale leads to more than 100 arrested, more than 100 safeguarded and more than £130,000 in cash seized

A week of action by Thames Valley Police has led to 106 arrests, 133,000 pounds cash being seized and 43 children being safeguarded in connection with County Lines drug dealing.

Tuesday, 29th January 2019, 3:25 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 7:38 pm
Photo showing Thames Valley Police's work to disrupt County Lines drug dealing
Photo showing Thames Valley Police's work to disrupt County Lines drug dealing

As part of County Lines Intensification Week the police worked alongside local authorities, homeless charities and schools for a week-long focus on tackling drug dealing that moves across different counties.

County Lines drug dealing is the name given to drug dealing where organised criminal groups (OCGs) use phone lines to move and supply drugs, usually from cities into smaller towns and rural areas.

This type of drug dealing exploits children and vulnerable adults who may have mental health or addiction problems.

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Photo showing Thames Valley Police's work to disrupt County Lines drug dealing

Generally these people are exploited by OCGs to supply and run drugs through violence and intimidation.

The week-long activity saw officers from across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire carry out warrants, make arrests and engage in other activity to disrupt County Lines drug dealers.

This led to 106 arrests of people who are connected to County Lines drugs, while 27 warrants were executed, 156 stop and searches were carried out, and officers took more than 2,800 wraps of cocaine, heroin and cannabis off the streets.

Additionally officers seized more than 133,000 pounds worth of cash and took a number of weapons including machetes and flick knives out of the hands criminals, and also seized 147 phones linked to County Line drug dealing.

Photo showing Thames Valley Police's work to disrupt County Lines drug dealing

Through the week of action officers safeguarded 43 children and 69 vulnerable adults, and carried out 41 school visits to give young people and teachers the information they need to spot the signs that someone is being groomed by an OCG.

The force also visited 115 addresses where known “Cuckooing” has taken place - this is a practice where organised criminal groups target the address of a vulnerable adult, taking over the property that the adult is living in and forcing them to sell drugs out of their home.

Detective Chief Superintendent Richard List said: “This has been a hugely successful week for Thames Valley Police working with the National Crime Agency to tackle County Lines drug dealing.

“Thames Valley Police sees tackling OCGs and county lines as an absolute priority and through our Stronghold campaign we are determined to continue to work closely with our partners including local authorities, schools, health professionals and charities, to safeguard children and vulnerable adults.

Some of the weapons recovered during Thames Valley Police's week of action to disrupt County Lines drug dealing

“I see the fact that we have safeguarded a number of adults and children from being exploited through violence, fear and intimidation by drug dealers this week as a real success.

“However this intensification week is just a continuation of the work Thames Valley Police officers and our partners have been carrying out over the last few years.

“We will continue to act every single day to stop those who seek to damage our communities through this extremely harmful criminal activity.

“It is important for us all to be familiar with the signs that someone might be the victim of drugs exploitation as only with the public’s help can we stop this.

“If you think someone shows sign of mistreatment, or a child seems to travelling long distances or is unfamiliar with the area they are in, then you can report your suspicions to Thames Valley Police on 101 or via our website.

“Engagement with the public is vital as well and we will continue to work together with our communities and partners so that we can protect vulnerable people, bring offenders to justice and make the Thames Valley a safer place.

“Our positive action is sending a very strong message to criminals – we know from social media that it is welcomed by the law abiding public and that drug dealers and criminals are feeling the pinch.

"We will be relentless in disrupting criminal gangs and bringing them to justice."