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Joint operation to target ‘County Lines’ in North Yorkshire

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County Lines Scarborough

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We’ve teamed up with North Yorkshire  Police this week in a joint operation to crack down on “County Lines” drug dealers in North Yorkshire.
“County Lines” is the term used to describe a form of organised crime where criminals based in urban areas pressurise vulnerable people and children to transport, store and sell drugs in smaller county towns. It takes its name from the phone lines used by organised crime gangs to communicate between towns.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
The operation will target suspects who police believe are using the rail network to bring drugs and cash in and out of the town. 
Undercover officers will be travelling on trains and extra high visibility patrols will be taking place at stations to cut off the supply of drugs. 

Our priority is also to safeguard the vulnerable people who are being exploited by the gangs and provide them with support and a way out.

Inspector Andy Selby of British Transport Police, added, "Project Shield is part of an ongoing operation to target and disrupt those who intend on using trains to transport drugs to towns and cities across the county.

"Where BTP has intelligence that the rail network is being used to support any kind of criminal activity, we work in partnership with other forces, including North Yorkshire Police and local agencies, to prevent and disrupt it. We believe that these partnerships are paramount to tackling any exploitation of vulnerable people.

"Working with colleagues we will act fast and decisively to take drugs off our streets to keep our communities safe from harm and to protect the vulnerable. 

"We know this 'county lines' activity is taking place and it's something we're going to stop."


Detective Chief Inspector Graeme Wright, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “Increasingly, North Yorkshire is seeing drug dealers and the people they are exploiting, use the rail network to travel to the area from areas such as Manchester, Merseyside, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire. 
“Combined with Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology on our roads, our aim is to disrupt their means of transport and ability to sell drugs in North Yorkshire, as well as safeguarding vulnerable people who have been pressured into ‘working’ for organised criminals. 
 “Although North Yorkshire is generally a low crime area, this is happening in the county now and it’s vital that members of the public can spot the signs of drug dealing, in particular where vulnerable adults and young people are involved, and report any concerns to the police or Crimestoppers. This will build on and enrich our existing intelligence which then helps to inform our enforcement activity.”


Child Criminal Exploitation 
Similar to child sexual exploitation, any young person could be at risk of being targeted by drug gangs, but some are particularly susceptible including those without a stable home life, who’ve experienced domestic violence, parental drug abuse or criminality, social isolation or exclusion, homelessness or insecure accommodation, learning or physical disability, mental health problems, associations with criminality or being in care, particularly a disrupted history of care. 

Gangs are increasingly using social media to recruit children who aren’t typically vulnerable, so everyone needs to be alert to the following signs:

• Persistently going missing from school or home and / or being found out-of-area;
• Unexplained money, clothes, or mobile phones
• Excessive receipt of texts / phone calls
• Relationships with controlling / older individuals or groups
• Leaving home / care without explanation
• Suspicion of physical assault / unexplained injuries
• Carrying weapons
• Significant decline in school results / performance
• Gang association or isolation from peers or social networks
• Self-harm or significant changes in emotional well-being

If you do suspect someone is being exploited in this way, or are dealing or transporting drugs on the rail network please contact us on 0800 405040 or text 61016 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. If a person is in immediate danger always call 999.
 

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County Lines Scarborough

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County Lines Scarborough

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