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British Transport Police teams up with organisations across Wales to tackle County Lines

British Transport Police (BTP) teaches organisations across Wales to spot the signs of County Lines.

“County Lines” is a form of organised crime where criminals in urban areas use 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 rail network is key to the transport of drugs, particularly by vulnerable minors too young to drive. To tackle this, BTP has trained officers to spot behaviour associated with people taking part in County Lines activity.

Notoriously under-reported, BTP is encouraging rail staff to look out for the signs of this activity taking place on and around the railway. To date, over 500 rail staff in Wales have been trained by officers and it has become a compulsory part of training for every new starter at Transport for Wales.

As well as rail staff, BTP has worked with the taxi cooperative, Drive, and Cardiff Hackney Carriage Association to raise awareness of the issue, with over 40 drivers now trained across Cardiff and plans to train more across Wales in coming months. 

Together with charity Crimestoppers’ youth service – Fearless, the force has launched a sticker with advice on how to spot exploitation, to display in transport hubs across Wales including taxis, stations and airports.

BTP Detective Chief Inspector, Jaqueline Thomas, said: “We know this activity is happening across the rail network and we recognise the major role we play in disrupting it. Our job is to detect and interfere with this activity, as well as protecting victims of this crime.

“We can’t be everywhere, so by training people in the industry, we’ll have more eyes and ears on the ground to help gather vital intelligence through more reporting.”

Ella Rabaiotti, Crimestoppers Wales Manager, said: “As an independent charity, Crimestoppers enables the public to give information about crime anonymously. Through this initiative and by promoting our youth campaign at Fearless.org, we hope young people will be better informed and speak up about exploitation.”

A common feature in county lines drug supply is the exploitation of young and vulnerable people, who are often targeted to transport drugs and money. BTP also works closely with schools and colleges, including Cardiff and Vale Collage (CAVC), to train tutors on warning signs and how to safeguard pupils, as well as raising awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation amongst students.

CAVC, the second largest college in the UK, has over 30,000 students. With over a third of their students using the train to travel and a number of vulnerable pupils attending the college, it’s important to educate them to help prevent them from becoming a victim of this type of crime.

If you see something that doesn’t seem right, text BTP on 61016 or call 0800 40 50 40. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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Cardiff Central taxi operation

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Wales

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Crimestoppers sticker

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