More than 150 people were arrested across the eastern region last week, as part of a national crack down on county drugs line activity.

Police forces in the east of England, supported by the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) and other partners, took part in the action aimed at disrupting those involved in county lines criminality and safeguarding vulnerable victims, including children.

County lines typically involves drugs gangs selling their products in other towns using a dedicated phone line. These offenders are often linked to serious violence and use intimidation, grooming and exploitation, particularly of young or vulnerable people, to run drug dealing networks across the country.

Throughout the week (Monday 7 March – Friday 11 March) 151 people were arrested, while 34 dangerous weapons including 17 knives were seized and 55 vulnerable children and adults were safeguarded.

Approximately £48,000 worth of drugs and more than £150,000 worth of cash was also seized, while officers also recovered 35 phones used as drugs lines.

Police forces carried out a number of different safeguarding activities, in particular working with taxi companies, coaches, and children’s homes to raise awareness of the signs of exploitation.

Detective Inspector Kelly Gray, county lines coordinator for the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU), said: “This was another successful intensification week of action, bringing down those involved in county drugs lines across the eastern region.

“As well as arresting more than 150 people and seizing a number of dangerous weapons, we’ve done a lot of great preventative work, working with partner organisations and businesses to raise awareness of the signs of exploitation and what to look out for in terms of county lines. This will all help have a longer term impact on the county lines operating in our area.

“The fantastic results from this week are a testament to the tireless work our forces carry out throughout the year to disrupt drugs lines and protect the most vulnerable members in our communities from those wish to exploit them from county lines criminality.”

If you have information about drug dealing in your area, or if you’re concerned that someone you know may be involved in a county line, it’s important you contact your local force as soon as possible on 101, or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Results by county

  • In Bedfordshire, eight knives were seized and five people were arrested.
  • In Cambridgeshire, 14 people were arrested and £11,000 was seized, along with five deal lines.
  • In Essex, 44 arrests were made and 12 deal lines were seized.
  • In Kent, 28 arrests were made and 10 deal lines were seized. 
  • In Hertfordshire, 25 arrests were made and five deal lines were seized.
  • In Norfolk, 43 vulnerable people were engaged with and five people were arrested.
  • In Suffolk, 33 vulnerable people were engaged with and 29 people were arrested.

By Ed

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