Police crackdown on County Lines drug dealing during week of action
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Quantities of cash, drugs, weapons and mobile phones were seized during a week-long crackdown on County Lines drug dealing.
Dozens of arrests were made and numerous vulnerable people were safeguarded as officers delivered a campaign of education, engagement and enforcement.
The work by Sussex Police was in support of the national County Lines Intensification Week, which ran from Monday 9 October to Sunday 15 October.
Here are some of the key stats from the week:
27 suspects arrested
£17,715 cash seized
411 wraps of Class A drugs seized, in addition to 451 grams of Class A or B drugs
Six weapons recovered
46 mobile phones seized
Eight County Lines intercepted and shut down
Seven public engagement events
73 people engaged with at properties associated with cuckooing
30 sessions delivered to 4,916 young people at 13 schools
Detective Chief Inspector John Wallace, the force lead for County Lines, said: “While I am delighted with the results of this dedicated week of action, I’d like to assure people that we won’t stop here. County Lines drug-dealing brings enormous harm to our communities and it’s up to us, working with our partners and the public, to stop it.
“Please contact Sussex Police online or via Crimestoppers if you have any information what will help.
“Our efforts to prevent, detect and respond to County Lines continue 365 days a year, and we remain as determined as ever to bring offenders to justice.
“This type of criminality will not be tolerated in Sussex, however it is equally as important that we protect the vulnerable people in our communities.”
In addition to the public engagement events, a number of free awareness sessions on cuckooing and child exploitation were delivered to professionals across the county.
Cuckooing is where drug gangs use a vulnerable person’s home as a base for their drug operations, often through violence, intimidation and exploitation.
Here are some of the highlights from the week across the force:
BRIGHTON & HOVE:
Officers responded to community concerns about open drug use in the vicinity of Old Steine. This led to the swift arrest of a man discovered in possession of cash and approximately 100 wraps of heroin and crack cocaine.
A number of other arrests were made throughout the week, including a prominent figure suspected of running a notorious drugs line with links to Brighton and Hastings.
Neighbourhood Youth Officers and partners made visits to several schools across the city.
While conducting cuckooing checks, a member of public approached officers and advised they had discovered a rusty knife on the roof of a building. This was recovered, ensuring the public are protected from further harm.
Numerous plain-clothed deployments were carried out to disrupt drug activity in towns across East Sussex. This led to the seizure of drugs and weapons including a knife, a sword and a stun gun.
School students were shown how to spot the signs of drug harm and how to report it during a number of sessions run by Neighbourhood Youth Officers.
Leaflets and guidance were given to dozens of people who engaged with police and partners at stalls set up in towns including Eastbourne.
Further engagement was provided during a knife arch event in Hastings.
10 vehicles with links to County Lines were stopped, resulting in two arrests, plus the seizure of multiple drugs, phones and £6,000 cash.
Proactive patrols and weapons sweeps of known ‘hot spot’ areas including Worthing and Crawley were carried out, providing high visibility reassurance to the community.
PCSOs visited hotels and hospitality establishments to raise awareness of exploitation.
A number of engagement stalls were set up in towns including Horsham, Chichester and East Grinstead.
DCI Wallace added: “I’d like to extend my thanks to everyone who contributed to the success of County Lines Intensification Week. This operation involved scores of staff and officers from numerous teams across the force, and I am mindful of the extensive hours that have gone into ultimately making Sussex a safer place to live, work and visit.
“The number of engagement and enforcement opportunities carried out across the week has been amazing, and none of this would have been achievable without the invaluable teamwork of everyone involved.”
Read more about County Lines, including how you can protect yourself and others from harm, here.
Details of arrests made in Sussex during County Lines Intensification Week will follow in a further press release.