Drugs, money, and weapons seized as police crackdown on County Lines across the North East

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Almost 150 people have been arrested as police across the North East take action on County Lines and drug supply.

Police forces across the country took action and reaffirmed their commitment to tackling drug crime as a week of intensification saw warrants executed and drugs seized.

As a result of the fight against County Lines, 148 people were arrested in the North East alone between February 27 and March 5.

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Officers from Northumbria Police, Durham Constabulary and Cleveland Police were supported by the North East Regional Organised Crime Unit (NEROCU), prison services, local authorities and safeguarding partners as they carried out several targeted operations across the region.

Raids were carried out across the North East. Raids were carried out across the North East.
Raids were carried out across the North East. | Northumbria Police

The operations aimed to safeguard vulnerable victims, shut down drug lines and educate young people about the dangers of becoming involved with drugs.

Ian Randell, the NEROCU County Lines co-ordinator, praised the regional partnership working and the communities in the North East.

He said: “This intensification week has delivered great results, but we promise our action will not end here. All year round we have on-going operations targeting key individuals and gathering evidence to take down these organised criminals.

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“Part of tackling County Lines is also educating young and vulnerable people on the dangers of exploitation and the signs to look out for.

The operation saw police take action on County Lines across the region. The operation saw police take action on County Lines across the region.
The operation saw police take action on County Lines across the region. | Northumbria Police

“Our amazing safeguarding partners are a vital tool in helping those who are vulnerable, including children, to get support and away from crime.

“Under the banner of Operation Sentinel, our dedicated regional initiative to tackling serious and organised crime, we will continue to work with partners and pursue offenders, shut down their lines, and work with young people and those who have been impacted by this abhorrent crime.

“Finally, the response from the communities we serve has been outstanding, they regularly support police and partners by reporting suspicions and concerns surrounding drugs and this helps us build a bigger intelligence picture so we can proactively target suspects – and I want to thank them for that.”

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The week-long region-wide activity saw large quantities of drugs seized, including cocaine, ecstasy and cannabis.

Officers seized drugs, money, weapons and vehicles. Officers seized drugs, money, weapons and vehicles.
Officers seized drugs, money, weapons and vehicles. | Northumbria Police

Officers have estimated a total value of £400,000 worth of drugs were seized during the operation.

The warrants also allowed police to seize seven vehicles and several weapons including firearms, machetes, knives and a sword.

More than £240,000 in cash suspected to be linked to drug offences was also seized as part of the police action.

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County Lines sees dealers expanding their drug crime through dedicated mobile phone lines to sell highly addictive substances at low pries to keep vulnerable addicts coming back for more.

The week-long action was coordinated by the National County Lines Coordination Centre (NCLCC) and is just one example of the ongoing targeted activity carried out by police and partners throughout the year.

Police made 148 arrests in the North East. Police made 148 arrests in the North East.
Police made 148 arrests in the North East. | Northumbria Police

It follows the Home Office providing significant funding after the threat and impact County Lines has on regional forces was highlighted.

Officers are urging members of the public who suspect County Lines activity to get in touch with them as soon as possible.

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Alternatively, information can be given to the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 111 555 or via their website.

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