Dozens of arrests in major drugs operation on the Fylde coast

Dozens of people were arrested, and significant quantities of cash and drugs taken off the streets as part of a crackdown on drug dealing and county lines offending.

Officers from Lancashire were joined by colleagues from Merseyside for three days of action across the Fylde coast focused on tackling county lines drugs gangs and organised criminals who sell drugs in our towns.

More than 30 officers each day were out tackling drug dealers. Officers in plain clothes were assisted by roads policing teams, who targeted the road networks in an effort to identify and disrupt the supply chains.

Between Tuesday and Thursday 40 people were arrested for offences including possession with Intent to supply, money laundering, drug driving and possession of weapons.

Officers also identified vulnerable people who were being exploited by drugs gangs and worked with local partner agencies to assist those suffering addiction to find support and help.

Some of the results from the three days included:

A 20-year-old man arrested for money laundering after his passenger ran from a vehicle after it was requested to stop. On leaving the car the passenger dropped a bag containing more than £10,000; A 54-year-old man from Blackpool arrested for Possession with intent to supply Class B drugs after his car was stopped and he was found to have numerous parcels containing cannabis ready to be delivered to people in Blackpool.

The drugs are valued in excess of £7,000; Two men in their early 20’s from Leeds and Manchester were arrested in the Grange Park area after they were identified as being runners for a County Lines group in Leeds; A 62-year-old man from Fleetwood was arrested after officers located nearly ½ kg of Amphetamine hidden in his vehicle.

Det Insp Kathryn Riley from Project Adder who co-ordinated the deployment said: “We want to hit criminals hard but also make sure young and vulnerable people who have been criminally exploited are treated sensitively and with understanding.

“Working cross border with other police forces is key in disrupting and dismantling county lines and putting offenders behind bars. We are sending out a strong message this criminality activity will not be tolerated, and we will continue to work together with our partners and regional forces to disrupt anyone involved in county lines and bring them to justice.

"County lines gangs and organised criminal networks are involved in exporting illegal drugs, using dedicated mobile phone lines or another form of ‘deal line’. The gang activity is highly associated with violence, drug dealing and exploitation, having a devastating impact on young people, vulnerable adults, and local communities.

“Gangs will use children, and vulnerable people, to move drugs and money, criminally exploiting them; they will also seek to establish a base in target locations, typically taking over the homes of local vulnerable adults by force or coercion – this is referred to as ‘cuckooing’.

“Project Adder seeks to target those who would prey on others and help those in most need. By targeting the drug gangs, we seek to give people the space to move towards recovery and live better lives free from intimidation and fear.”

“We need intelligence coming from our communities to alert us to potential drugs activity so we can investigate and bring organised gangs to justice, as well as safeguarding people, particularly children, who have been exploited and are victims.”

Inspector Stephen Morris from Merseyside Police said: “Project Medusa is Merseyside’s dedicated operation to tackle county lines drug dealing and the criminal exploitation of young people and vulnerable adults.

“We regularly deploy to other force areas to target county lines drug dealing, and this operation with Lancashire shows the results that can be achieved when working jointly to target those involved in this type of criminality. Criminals running their county lines operations don’t care about borders, as shown by the arrests made for nominals from Leeds and Manchester.

 “We are committed to working across borders to relentlessly pursue those involved in the supply of drugs and criminal exploitation. I would ask anyone who has information about this kind of activity to come forward so action can be taken.”

If you have information about drug dealing in your community, please call 101.

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