March 9, 2023 10.11 am This story is over 15 months old

24 arrested across Lincolnshire in County Lines crackdown

Drugs and imitation firearms seized

Police in Lincolnshire seized two ounces of heroin, two imitation firearms, and made 24 arrests during County Lines Intensification Week.

The week of intensification, which ran from Monday 27 February to Sunday 5 March, saw officers focus their efforts on disrupting suspected County Lines activity and safeguarding young people at risk of being exploited.

County Lines is a term used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks which export illegal drugs into other areas across the UK, using dedicated mobile phone ‘deal lines’.

They are likely to exploit children and vulnerable adults into running the drugs, and they will often use coercion, intimidation, violence – including sexual violence – and weapons.

The national week of action was coordinated by the National County Lines Coordination Centre (NCLCC).

Highlights include:

  • Four warrants executed in the Skegness and Spilsby areas of Lincolnshire, leading to the arrest of seven adults.
  • A warrant executed at an address in Tower Avenue, Lincoln, led to the arrest of a 50-year-old man, a 35-year-old woman, and an 18-yar-old man on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs. During searches, six ounces of cannabis, £500 cash, a black safe and two ounces of heroin were seized.
  • The safeguarding of two men over the age of 18, and three women under the age of 18, including one National Referral Mechanism (NRM) for a 14-year-old girl. Through the NRM, potential victims of human trafficking and modern slavery are identified and supported ahead of a decision being made on whether they are indeed victims. Six men were arrested in connection with her safeguarding, and investigations are ongoing.
  • Engagement with local communities, businesses, and schools to raise awareness about what County Lines is, how to spot the signs, and how to steer clear of drugs-related offending, including: Using the digital screen police van to promote the Be Fearless campaign from Crimestoppers in Horncastle and Woodhall Spa; educating more than 750 schoolchildren through interactive workshops about anti-social behaviour, gangs and County Lines; delivering #Lookcloser and Fearless material to multiple taxi companies and doctor’s surgeries in Louth, and guesthouses and fast food restaurants in Skegness; and visits to shops in the city centre to provide information and literature on how to spot the signs of criminal exploitation, as well as visits to high-end fashion and jewellery shops to raise awareness of County Lines.

Detective Inspector Gail Hurley from the Force Intelligence Bureau, said: “The negative impact of drugs on our communities can be significant, which is why we make it a priority to disrupt and close down County Lines throughout the year.

“The organised networks orchestrating County Lines activities prey on the most vulnerable members of society – children, adults with additional needs, addicts – and pull them in to a world of exploitation, danger, and fear. We know that with drugs comes weapons-related crime and other offending, and we target both types of criminality and do everything in our power to bring those responsible to justice.

“We couldn’t do this work without the help of our communities who provide much-needed intelligence around drug-dealing, suspicious activity, or vulnerability, and we would encourage people to continue to do this.”

If you have concerns about someone you know being involved in County Lines, you can find out more here: https://www.lincs.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/cl/county-lines/