Police seize drugs, weapons and £120,000 cash in week of action on county lines drug dealing
'As seen this week, we will find out who you are, arrest you and stop your activity,' warns chief superintendent
Police seized £30,000 of crack, heroin and cocaine, as well as 22 weapons and more than £120,000 of cash during a week of action aimed at tackling county lines drug dealing across Thames Valley.
The activity by Thames Valley Police was part of a national week of action between October 11 and 17.
Warrants were carried out across Bucks, Berks and Oxon with a view to disrupting illegal activity and taking drugs off the streets.
County lines is the name given to drug dealing where organised criminal groups use phone lines to move and supply drugs, usually from cities into smaller towns and rural areas.
They exploit vulnerable people, including children and those with mental health or addiction issues, by recruiting them to distribute the drugs, often referred to as ‘drug running’.
As well as this enforcement activity, officers have been visiting schools to teach children about the dangers of drugs, drug supply and how criminal groups can exploit young people.
Officers also visited previous victims of exploitation.
During the week of action, Thames Valley Police executed 16 warrants, arrested 61 people and stopped 51 vehicles thought to be linked to county drug lines.
They also seized over 430g of crack, heroin and cocaine thought to be worth an estimated £30,000, plus 22 weapons and over £120,000 of cash associated with drug dealing.
Officers engaged with 101 vulnerable people and made 40 visits to schools.
Ch Supt Jim Weems said: “Tackling county lines drug dealing and preventing exploitation from taking place in our communities is vitally important.
“The results from the past week of action are really positive with arrests being made, the seizure of drugs, cash and weapons as well as the safeguarding of a large number of people.
“Despite this intensification work, Thames Valley Police focuses on combatting county lines every day and this will continue beyond the dedicated week of action.
“Through our Stronghold campaign, we are committed to working in partnership to tackle serious organised crime and exploitation, such as county lines drug dealing.
“The action this week should serve as a warning to offenders that we do not tolerate drugs being dealt or exploitation in our communities.
"As seen this week, we will find out who you are, arrest you and stop your activity."
And he added; “Intelligence from the community is also really important to us.
"Your information can help us to build up a picture of what is happening in your area so we can take the appropriate action.
“If you have any concerns around potential county drug line activity, you can make a report by calling us on 101, or by contacting Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
Det Insp Lee Newman, county lines regional co-ordinator for the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU), said: “County lines drug dealing and associated criminality causes immeasurable harm to our communities, putting the most vulnerable in society at risk from exploitation.
“SEROCU works closely with police forces and partnership agencies in the south east to ensure staff have access to the specialist resources and training to target offenders.
"We work collaboratively to safeguard victims of these offences and to ensure those who exploit them face justice.
"We also work closely with prisons to disrupt those involved in county lines activity.”