Operation Tide: 15 appear in court following ‘County Lines’ drugs raids in North Wales and Merseyside
A total of fifteen people appeared in magistrates court today (Saturday 7 Sept) in Mold and Llandudno – following Operation Tide, a County Lines drug investigation lead by North Wales Police.
More than 300 officers carried out dawn raids at addresses across Flintshire, Conwy, Anglesey and Merseyside on Thursday targeting those who peddle hard drugs such as heroin and crack cocaine in the region, coordinated raids also took place in Scotland.
Thirteen of the fifteen to appear in court today were remanded in custody, two received conditional bail.
Superintendent Mark Pierce Mark Pierce said:
“The operation shows that there are no borders when it comes to protecting vulnerable members of the public and in prosecuting those who exploit others and deal drugs.”
Thursday’s huge operation targeting ‘County Lines’ drug gangs in North Wales and Merseyside saw the “culmination of months of work” into dismantling an Organised Crime Group (OCG) operating in Deeside.
“Yesterday saw the culmination of months of work into dismantling an Organised Crime Group operating in Deeside.
A big step in making North Flintshire a safer place.”
North Flintshire Local Policing Team
County Lines’ is a term used when drug gangs from big cities expand their operations to smaller towns, often using violence to drive out local dealers and exploiting children and vulnerable people to sell drugs.
Video of police executing a warrant in Deeside on Thursday morning.
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- Change in resident’s mood and/or demeanour (e.g. secretive/ withdrawn/ aggressive/ emotional)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.