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Forces join up to tackle County Lines in Swansea

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45 police officers from British Transport Police, Dyfed Powys Police, South Wales Police and West Midlands Police teamed up as part of an operation to tackle people using the railway to deliver drugs in Swansea.

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.

The operation, led by BTP, ran at Swansea station on Wednesday 16 September and then at stations along the line including Neath, Llanelli and Carmarthen. This was one in a recent series of joint operations to detect, deter and disrupt County Lines activity.

The operation included uniformed and plainclothes officers, a knife arch at Swansea station to detect weapons and live intelligence to ensure officers were in the right place at the right time.

13 people were stopped and searched, three intelligence reports were received, five stop and accounts were conducted, and a 37-year-old man was arrested for possession of class A and class C drugs, as well as possession of an offensive weapon. Three people were also reported for possession of cannabis and spice and two people were reported for possession of Class A drugs.

BTP Swansea Sergeant Ben Randall-Webb said: “It was fantastic to see all the forces come together to disrupt those who intend on using trains to transport drugs from Swansea to other towns and cities.

“We know County Lines activity is taking place on the rail network in this area, and it’s something we’re working hard to prevent – this operation is just one example of the many joint initiatives we have in place to tackle drugs gangs and protect the vulnerable people they exploit.”

British Transport Police has been carrying out County Lines operations across England, Wales and Scotland since it secured Home Office funding for a Taskforce in December 2019.

The main aims of the Taskforce are to tackle drugs on the railway network, and to protect children and vulnerable adults who are often exploited by gangs into selling or moving drugs.

Efforts are made to safeguard any vulnerable or exploited person arrested as part of County Lines, referring them to services built to encourage and support the person away from dangerous criminal activity.

BTP has partnered with The Children’s Society’s #LookCloser awareness campaign to encourage professionals and the public to ‘Look Closer’ for signs that a child may be at risk of criminal exploitation.

To date, 33 children have been referred to the National Referral Mechanism for safeguarding, nearly 600 arrests have been made and 288 drugs, 110 weapons and £220,000 in cash have been seized.

Taskforce lead, Detective Superintendent Gareth Williams said: “Our Taskforce is in a unique position, we operate nationally and target County Lines activity across the railway network.

“Our experience has proven that gangs who use the railway network rely on younger people to move drugs. These individuals are victims, forced through exploitation or intimidation into desperate situations, and it’s always our priority to make support available that can get them out of harm and away from crime.

“Key indicators include a teenager travelling long distances, alone with a large amount of cash, or avoiding any sort of authority at stations. These indicators are small but invaluable and help inform where we target next. This is an evolving understanding of County Lines offending and we are prepared to tackle it, wherever the intelligence leads us.”

 

Lluoedd yn ymuno i fynd i'r afael â ‘County Lines’ yn Abertawe

Ymunodd 45 o swyddogion o Heddlu Trafnidiaeth Prydeinig, Heddlu Dyfed Powys, Heddlu De Cymru a Heddlu Gorllewin Canolbarth Lloegr fel rhan o ymgyrch i fynd i’r afael â phobl sy’n defnyddio’r rheilffordd i ddosbarthu cyffuriau yn Abertawe.

Mae ‘County Lines’ yn fath o droseddau cyfundrefnol lle mae troseddwyr mewn ardaloedd trefol yn defnyddio pobl a phlant sy'n agored i niwed i gludo, storio a gwerthu cyffuriau mewn trefi sir llai.

Rhedodd yr ymgyrch, dan arweiniad HTP, yng ngorsaf Abertawe ar ddydd Mercher 16 Medi ac yna mewn gorsafoedd ar hyd y lein gan gynnwys Castell-nedd, Llanelli a Caerfyrddin. Roedd hwn yn un mewn cyfres ddiweddar o weithrediadau ar y cyd i ganfod, atal ac amharu ar weithgaredd ‘County Lines’.

Roedd yr ymgyrch yn cynnwys swyddogion mewn gwisg a dillad plaen, arch cyllell yng ngorsaf Abertawe i ganfod arfau a deallusrwydd byw i sicrhau bod swyddogion yn y lle iawn ar yr adeg iawn.

Cafodd 13 o bobl eu stopio a’u chwilio, derbyniwyd tri adroddiad cudd-wybodaeth, cynhaliwyd pum stop a chyfrif, ac arestiwyd dyn, 37 oed, am fod â chyffuriau dosbarth A a dosbarth C yn ei feddiant, yn ogystal â bod ag arf sarhaus yn ei feddiant. Adroddwyd bod tri o bobl hefyd yn meddu ar ganabis a sbeis ac adroddwyd bod dau o bobl yn meddu ar gyffuriau Dosbarth A.

Dywedodd Rhingyll Abertawe BTP, Ben Randall-Webb: “Roedd yn wych gweld yr holl heddluoedd yn dod at ei gilydd i darfu ar y rhai sy’n bwriadu defnyddio trenau i gludo cyffuriau o Abertawe i drefi a dinasoedd eraill.

“Rydyn ni'n gwybod bod gweithgaredd County Lines yn digwydd ar y rhwydwaith reilffyrdd yn yr ardal hon, ac mae'n rhywbeth rydyn ni'n gweithio'n galed i'w atal - dim ond un enghraifft yw'r ymgyrch hon o'r nifer o fentrau ar y cyd sydd gennym ar waith i fynd i'r afael â gangiau cyffuriau ac amddiffyn y pobl fregus maen nhw'n eu hecsbloetio.”

Mae Heddlu Trafnidiaeth Prydeinig wedi bod yn cyflawni gweithrediadau County Lines ledled Cymru, Lloegr a’r Alban ers iddo sicrhau cyllid y Swyddfa Gartref ar gyfer Tasglu ym mis Rhagfyr 2019.

Prif nodau'r Tasglu yw mynd i'r afael â chyffuriau ar y rhwydwaith rheilffyrdd, ac amddiffyn plant ac oedolion agored i niwed sy'n aml yn cael eu hecsbloetio gan gangiau i werthu neu symud cyffuriau.

Gwneir ymdrechion i ddiogelu unrhyw berson bregus neu ecsbloetiol a arestiwyd fel rhan o County Lines, gan eu cyfeirio at wasanaethau a adeiladwyd i annog a chefnogi'r unigolyn i ffwrdd o weithgaredd troseddol peryglus.

Mae HTP wedi partneru gydag ymgyrch ymwybyddiaeth #LookCloser The Children’s Society i annog gweithwyr proffesiynol a’r cyhoedd i ‘Edrych yn Agosach’ am arwyddion y gallai plentyn fod mewn perygl o gael ei ecsbloetio’n droseddol.

Hyd yma, mae 33 o blant wedi cael eu cyfeirio at y Mecanwaith Cyfeirio Cenedlaethol ar gyfer diogelu, gwnaed bron i 600 o arestiadau ac atafaelwyd 288 o gyffuriau, 110 o arfau a £220,000 mewn arian parod.

Dywedodd arweinydd y Tasglu, Ditectif Uwcharolygydd Gareth Williams: “Mae ein Tasglu mewn sefyllfa unigryw, rydym yn gweithredu’n genedlaethol ac yn targedu gweithgaredd County Lines ar draws y rhwydwaith reilffyrdd.

“Mae ein profiad wedi profi bod gangiau sy’n defnyddio’r rhwydwaith reilffyrdd yn dibynnu ar bobl iau i symud cyffuriau. Mae'r unigolion hyn yn ddioddefwyr, yn cael eu gorfodi trwy ecsbloetio neu ddychryn i sefyllfaoedd enbyd, a'n blaenoriaeth bob amser yw sicrhau bod cefnogaeth ar gael a all eu cael allan o niwed ac i ffwrdd o droseddu.

“Ymhlith y dangosyddion allweddol mae pobl yn eu harddegau yn teithio pellteroedd maith, ar ei phen ei hun gyda swm mawr o arian parod, neu'n osgoi unrhyw fath o awdurdod mewn gorsafoedd. Mae'r dangosyddion hyn yn fach ond yn amhrisiadwy ac yn helpu i lywio ble rydyn ni'n targedu nesaf. Mae hon yn ddealltwriaeth esblygol o droseddu County Lines ac rydym yn barod i fynd i’r afael â hi, lle bynnag y mae’r wybodaeth yn ein harwain.”

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