North Wales Police and officers from Merseyside Police carried out a joint operation in a bid to “put pressure on County Lines drug dealing in Flintshire on Monday.
Officers from North Flintshire neighbourhood police team along with colleagues from the Merseyside force carried out a series of stops on vehicles suspected to be involved with drug dealing in the area.
Police say four people were arrested for suspected drug and weapon-related offences.
A post on the forces North Flintshire Police Facebook page warned people not to ‘fill the void in the market” left by Monday’s action, as officers say they are “very, very motivated” to catch drug dealers.
A force spokesperson said: “We’ve been out and about conducting stop searches and stopping vehicles of note.
This has resulted in 4 people being arrested for drug offences and weapon-related offences.
As a team we are very, very motivated. We can’t go into details but the lengths we go to catch these criminals are vast.
We’ve worked 24hrs shifts before now, returning to work after grabbing a few hours’ sleep to do it all again.
For those of you wanting to fill the void in the market, don’t!
Rain, snow, late nights and early mornings, it doesn’t matter to us. Choose your time, choose your place and we’ll be there with our silver bracelets, no doubt we’ll find you with your phones, kinder eggs and your sorry excuses.”
County Lines Gangs
The so-called county lines model sees organised crime groups (OCG’s) from inner city areas like Manchester and Liverpool establish a network between their urban hubs and county locations.
A key feature of county Lines drug supply is the use of a branded mobile phone line which is established in the marketplace and promoted throughout the existing customer base.
North Wales is a particularly easy target for the OCG’s due to the logistical ease in which drugs can be ferried from urban hubs, by young drug runners who are known to use rail networks as the predominant mode of transport.
Young people are often coerced, groomed and threatened with violence to take part in Class A drug dealing activity across North Wales.
Police depend heavily on ‘community intelligence’ and need information from local residents about drug dealing or suspicious activity in your area.
How do you know if County Lines drug dealing is happening in your area?
Some signs to look out for include:
- An increase in visitors and cars to a house or flat
- New faces appearing at the house or flat
- New and regularly changing residents (e.g different accents compared to local accent
- Change in resident’s mood and/or demeanour (e.g. secretive/ withdrawn/ aggressive/ emotional)
- Substance misuse and/or drug paraphernalia
- Changes in the way young people you might know dress
- Unexplained, sometimes unaffordable new things (e.g clothes, jewellery, cars etc)
- Residents or young people you know going missing, maybe for long periods of time
- Young people seen in different cars/taxis driven by unknown adults
- Young people seeming unfamiliar with your community or where they are
- Truancy, exclusion, disengagement from school
- An increase in anti-social behaviour in the community
- Unexplained injuries
What to do if you have concerns
The best advice is to trust your instincts. Even if someone isn’t involved in county lines drug dealing, they may be being exploited in some other way, so it’s always worth speaking out.
Information can be passed to North Wales Police direct via the web live chat http://www.north-wales.police.uk/contact/chat-support.aspx or by phoning 101
If you would rather remain anonymous, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
If you notice something linked to the railways, you can report concerns to the British Transport Police by texting 61016 from your mobile. In an emergency dial 999.
If you are a young person who is worried about your involvement, or a friend’s involvement in county lines
A good option is to speak to an adult you trust and talk to them about your concerns.
You can also call Childline on 0800 1111. Childline is private and confidential service where you can talk to specially trained counsellors about anything that is worrying you.
Alternatively, speak to a children and young people’s service like Catch 22.
They work with children and young people of any age to help get them out of situations they’re worried about, and have helped lots of children and young people involved in County Lines.