20 arrests made as part of County Lines Intensification Week

20 people have been arrested, cash, weapons and mobile phones have been seized and suspected Class A and Class B drugs have been recovered from across Preston, Chorley and South Ribble.

The operation forms part of a major national operation to crackdown on County Lines offenders.

Last week, officers from South division, which covers the areas of Preston, Chorley, South Ribble and West Lancashire took part in a range of targeted activity for County Lines Intensification Week.

County Lines is the transportation of illegal drugs from one area to another, usually by children or vulnerable adults who are coerced into it by often violent criminal gangs.

The operation saw:

·         20 people arrested

·         26 stop searches conducted

·         10 vulnerable people visited and safeguarded

·         A quantity of drugs seized, including heroin, cocaine, cannabis and ketamine

·         Cash totalling £8,160 seized

·         10 weapons including a samurai sword, knuckle duster and a stun gun seized

·         11 phones seized

Detective Chief Inspector Lukmaan Mulla, said: “We remain committed to tackling County Lines activity in Lancashire and last week’s activity is just a snapshot of the work carried out every day to disrupt those involved.

“I hope the results send a strong message to those exploiting the most vulnerable members of our communities to further their own criminal business that it will not be tolerated here.

“Working with our partners, we will continue to protect and safeguard young and vulnerable people who are used to transport drugs and forced into other illegal activity. Our work to tackle those responsible and protect those being exploited will not stop.”

Andrew Snowden, Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire said: "Tackling county lines and cross border criminals is a key part of my Fighting Crime Plan, with Op Warrior dismantling organised crime gangs that often operate across county borders.

"Since launching Op Warrior, the number of raids, arrests and drug seizures speak for themselves. We have been stepping up the pressure on those who destroy lives and damage communities, and we won't stop making Lancashire a hostile place for offenders, wherever they are from.

"Organised crime gangs bring fear, violence, drugs and exploitation into Lancashire, and with county lines it's even more important to utilise the relationships we have with partners such as the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit, National Crime Agency and other police forces, to keep people safe and ensure offenders have their day in court.

"I want to thank Lancashire residents for their continued support, and I hope that seeing these results encourages them to continue to report suspicious activity, either directly to the police or anonymously to Crimestoppers."

During the week, officers distributed leaflets encouraging members of the public to make themselves aware of the signs of child criminal exploitation. Some of these signs include children frequently going missing and then returning home, having more clothes, mobile phones, or cash than usual, receiving excessive text messages or phone calls and disengagement from school.

If you believe that someone may be involved in County Lines or other drugs activity, you can report it by calling 101.

Alternatively, you can report it via the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or report your concerns anonymously online at Crimestoppers-uk-org. If you think someone is in immediate danger, call 999.

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