Seven arrests following raids in Flintshire and Merseyside as police target alleged County Lines drugs ring
Seven people have been arrested following nine raids on addresses across Flintshire and Merseyside this morning targeting a County Lines drug ring operating in North East Wales.
The early morning raids in Bagillt and the Kirby and Sefton areas of Merseyside were the final police “strike” stage in Operation Blue Elixir, a five month investigation led by Flintshire North’s Neighbourhood Policing team.
The investigation has been targeting a Merseyside-based organised crime group which has been transporting crack cocaine and heroin into Flintshire to store and sell it through a network of local vulnerable people who they exploit to take the risk for them.
County Lines is a term used to describe gangs that supply drugs from large urban areas to smaller towns across the country using dedicated mobile phone lines or “deal lines”.
They exploit children and vulnerable adults to move the drugs and money to and from the urban area and to store the drugs locally.
Sgt Steve Lloyd of the Flintshire North NPT said; “Operation Blue Elixir has already resulted in the seizure of thousands of pounds worth Class A drugs and the arrest of four men and recovery of a stolen vehicle in October 2019.
“Today North Wales Police officers, supported by our colleagues in Merseyside and the Regional Organised Crime Unit, executed nine search warrants resulting in seven more arrests, three men in Flintshire and three men and a woman in Merseyside .
“We also recovered a quantity of cash, phones and substances believed to be Class A drugs.
“The suspects, who were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, namely heroin and crack cocaine, are in custody in Llay and will be interviewed throughout the day.
“I would like to thank the community for their information and cooperation throughout this operation.”
Sgt Gavin Gilmore added; “North Wales Police will continue to pursue anyone concerned in the supply or sale of illegal drugs. Through concerted operations such as Blue Elixir we will disrupt and break up County Lines gangs which cause so much harm in our communities, and help make Flintshire a safer place.
“We are also committed to working with agencies which provide help and support for whose lives are being affected through drug use.”
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.
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