CRACKDOWN ON COUNTY LINES SEES 100 SUSPECTED DRUG DEALERS NICKED

Published:

Officers tackling drug related harm across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight have arrested 100 suspected drug dealers; seizing 82 mobile phones, over £1 million pounds worth of drugs and almost £53,000 in cash, alongside weapons and a firearm. 

These arrests were the result of a countywide intensification into drugs supply in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

The intensification activity saw 17 drug networks disrupted, with Police targeting individuals who ran either local or county lines, supplying crack cocaine and heroin.

Article continues below this advertisement

Warrants took place in London and in our towns and cities across Portsmouth, Fareham and Gosport, Basingstoke, Winchester, Southampton, the New Forest, Eastleigh and Isle of Wight over the last 2 weeks.

Overall a total of 88 men and 12 women were arrested with 13 of these under 18. Most offences were for being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs, with a few under modern day slavery legislation.

Neighbourhood officers visited cuckooed addresses across the Force region with 42 vulnerable people being identified and 6 safeguarded. Cuckooing is when a drug dealer takes over the home of a vulnerable individual who often lives on their own. Like a cuckoo, the dealer moves in, takes over the property and turns it into a drugs den.

The proactive operation involved officers from right across the Force – including Neighbourhoods teams, drug and high harm teams, proactive roads policing, firearms, dogs, crime investigation detectives and officers from the county lines specialist team Op Monument.

Article continues below this advertisement

County lines is a familiar term to many, but to others it is still an entirely unknown concept. It is not a crime type but a drugs distribution model and involved criminals setting up a phone line through which they sell Class A drugs – mainly crack cocaine and heroin. Those in charge of the phone line often recruit children and vulnerable young adults into trafficking he drugs all over the country to avoid detection. These individuals are often threatened with violence and are unable to escape.

Over the past 18 months, Hampshire Constabulary has developed a deeper understanding of the drivers of county lines and how those running lines operate. It is now tackling it under the name Op Monument, alongside the Metropolitan Police’s Op Orochi.

The operation involved joint work with British Transport Police, Ministry of Defence Police and Royal Mail. This intensification period yielded the following results:

  • 100 arrests
  • 24 vulnerable people identified
  • 9 vulnerable juveniles engaged
  • Cash seized £52,703.50
  • 81.5 grams of crack cocaine and 91 wraps seized
  • 62g of heroin and 92 wraps seized
  • 9 weapons – machetes, knives, CS gas, air rifle, BB gun recovered
  • 1 DDTRO – drug dealing telecommunications restriction order requiring the disconnection of a communication device, phone number or something else used with a communication device which is being used in connection with drug dealing offences.
  • 10 school county line education visits
  • 7 taxi firm engagements

All those arrested were questioned on suspicion of offences, including suppling drugs, possession of firearms and criminal property.

Detective Superintendent, Nick Plummer, Head of Serious Organised Crime, said:

“Operations like this, which target the criminal exploitation of vulnerable people, are vital because we know that this type of criminality drives a high proportion of violent crime in our communities.

“During these weeks of intensification we have identified vulnerable people, most of whom were victims of this type of exploitation, who we are now safeguarding and working with them to give support they need.

“If you are concerned or worried about a young or vulnerable person please contact your local safeguarding partnership website to seek help.”

LISTEN: DS Nick Plummer talks about the recent crackdown

Anyone with information on drugs can contact police on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, 0800 or online https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/forms/give-information-anonymously.

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
7 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jack in the Box
Jack in the Box
1 month ago

A real police story, instead of fining volunteers who are helping the community, and listening to the whinging of a dog walker who probable bags their dogs poop and gently arranges it in the nearest tree or bush.

Kathy
Kathy
Reply to  Jack in the Box
1 month ago

Just need the courts to back up the Police and jail this rubbish, until they too appeal and get off on a technacality.

Fred
Fred
1 month ago

Only 13 under 18yrs across Hampshire and IOW ? . Many teen-agers dealing and running (or on a Beryl scooter) just in Newport and Ryde.

Joe
Joe
Reply to  Fred
1 month ago

Do you have any proof that they were in fact drug dealers or were they random people you are assuming are committing some nefarious act?

Surfingwithsharks
Surfingwithsharks
Reply to  Fred
1 month ago

I’ve seen the Ryde Beryl the peril scooters, thats really funny as i assumed they were drug dealers as well, just from the hoodies and dark eyes, next ipad vermin wave.

Sunshine
Sunshine
1 month ago

Very well done to all involved in this operation to remove this filth and these drug pushers off the streets. Maybe there will be many ‘clucking’ due to their delivery being stopped. Ha Ha Ha!

Tom
Tom
1 month ago

Someone dealing in Daniel Street Ryde. Stinks of dope (Park road end) and cars stopping for a few minutes then going again.

Football Betting Site Betway
 

Join our daily newsletter

News, Traffic & Travel Tweets