Man sentenced following County Lines investigation between London and Eastbourne
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A man has appeared in court and admitted supplying Class A drugs between London and Eastbourne.
Officers from both Sussex Police and the Metropolitan Police collaboratively worked alongside each other to arrest someone working on the ‘Malik’ county drugs line.
In October 2021, officers from the Metropolitan Police conducted a raid at an address in Brent, London, where they seized drug-line phones, £1410 of crack cocaine and heroin, £330 in cash and a large knife.
Caylan Park, 22, of Wharton Close, Brent, pleaded guilty at Lewes Crown Court on Monday, January 31 to the supply of Class A drugs in Eastbourne as part of a county lines operation called the ‘Malik Line’. He was sentenced to two years in prison, which was suspended for 18-months.
Detective Constable David Brown said: "Class ‘A’ supply has a large negative impact on local people & local services. This investigation demonstrated that we will work effectively with our partners in the Metropolitan Police to target and disrupt those responsible for county lines drug dealing."
'County Lines' is a term used by Police and partner agencies to refer to drug networks, both gangs and organised crime groups, from large urban areas such as London, who use children and young people and vulnerable adults to carry out illegal activity on their behalf. Gangs dealing drugs is not a new issue but the extent to which criminal exploitation of children and vulnerable adults, as well as the increasing use of violence, has become an inherent part of it through 'County Lines' makes it especially damaging.
The organised crime groups tend to use a local property, generally belonging to a vulnerable person, sometimes a drug user, as a base for their activities. This is known as 'cuckooing' and will often happen by force or coercion. In some instances victims have left their homes in fear of violence. Much police work involves identifying these victims and helping them.
Police continue to see children being exploited by criminal gangs to supply drugs in Sussex. Children have travelled from London to Sussex to deal drugs on behalf of county line gangs as well as Sussex children being exploited and targeted by London gangs to deal drugs locally. Our priority is to identify those children at risk of criminal exploitation and once identified work with partner agencies to put the appropriate safeguarding measures in place.
Although there are currently some 30 'deal lines' in operation in Sussex at any one time, often overlapping with other force areas, that figure fluctuates on a regular basis. A ‘deal line’ is the dedicated mobile phone line to take orders from drug users.