Working proactively with partners at the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit and British Transport Police, officers last week executed warrants, stop searched, conducted safeguarding visits and worked with local schools to raise awareness of this method of drug supply.
County Lines is the name given to drug dealing which involves organised crime groups from urban centres expanding their drug dealing activity to smaller towns and rural areas. Dealers typically use a single phone line to facilitate the supply of drugs which becomes a valuable asset and is protected with violence and intimidation.
Officers visited Isle of Wight Ferry terminals with drugs dogs to check passengers travelling across the Solent. It’s thought that properties in Northwood, Newport and Shanklin were also raided by Police.
On the Isle of Wight there were 4 arrests in total with the following seizures:
• £4,170 cash seized
• 120g cannabis seized
• 2g suspected heroin seized
• 1g suspected crack cocaine seized
• 1 suspected Taser seized
Across the region over £28,000 worth of drugs were seized and a total of 35 arrests were made. Over £12,000 in cash was also recovered.
The intense week of operational activity in Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight was led by Superintendent Matthew Reeves.
Superintendent Reeves says:
“This week of action has been hugely successful from our perspective. A number of officers and staff have come together to target county lines which present the greatest threat, risk and harm to our communities. This is work we continue as everyday business.
“County Lines isn’t isolated to large UK cities, this is a real issue which is affecting Hampshire along with other areas in the country.
“It’s not only the obviously vulnerable who are groomed for county lines. Young people from all backgrounds have been groomed for transporting and dealing drugs.
“This type of criminality needs a partnership approach, including our communities. I would urge anyone who is concerned about someone who may be involved in this activity to contact us or one of our partners.
“We continue to work with our colleagues in education, social care, transport networks and charities among others to tackle this issue in collaboration.”
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Southey, from the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit, said:
“We are working hard, alongside partner agencies and our colleagues in Hampshire Constabulary to identify and target the most serious offenders in County Lines drugs supply gangs.
“Those involved in County Lines networks not only exploit the most vulnerable people in society, but their criminality has a wide and far-reaching effect across society.
“Drugs supply isn’t something we will tolerate in the south east, and we are determined to bring those involved to justice.”