Week of action focusing on county lines Date published: 19th October 2018 12.58pm

A week of action to focus on county lines criminal activity saw more than 20 arrests made in Cheshire as officers prevented and disrupted those committing serious and organised crime within our local communities.

Officers across the force arrested 17 men and four women for a range of offences including drugs and possessing offensive weapons. The drugs recovered were heroin, cocaine, cannabis and MDMA while officers also seized weapons including knives, a machete, an air weapon and an air gun.

Officers also safeguarded at least three people while four addresses were identified as being used to exploit vulnerable people to deal drugs on another dealer’s behalf.

As part of the action approximately £5,000 was also seized.

Local officers informed their communities on how they too can help spot the signs of vulnerable people being coerced into criminal activity and how to report it.

A county line is operated by an organised crime group (OCG) who use a mobile phone, known as a ‘line’ or a ‘graft’ to extend their criminal activity business into new locations - usually from a city into rural areas.

They will often target vulnerable adults, disabled people and children and force their way into their home to use as a secure operating base to deal drugs - a term known as ‘cuckooing’.

Assistant Chief Constable Sacha Hatchett, said: “The results of this week’s action is an example of what we do on a daily basis to keep vulnerable people safe from this type of criminal activity and arrest those implicit in it.

“Not only has it been an opportunity to further disrupt those who are intent on blighting our local communities but also to further inform the public on how they too can help by spotting the signs of vulnerability.

“Breaking the cycle of those who are coerced into this crime is very difficult and can involve children as well as adults. While the work with partner agencies is key we also need support from the public to help tackle the vulnerability and criminality.

“I would urge you to keep an eye out if you feel something isn’t right and to report it to us on 101.”