Arrests, cash seized and drug supply lines disrupted in County Lines crackdown

County Lines raids by Kent Police

A property in Ramsgate was one of those targeted by police officers in an operation dedicated to cracking down on County Lines drug supply chains.

Action across the county resulted in 45 arrests and more than £35,000 in cash seized.

More than 280 wraps of cocaine and 235 wraps of heroin were also taken off the streets leading to 21 ‘lines’ disrupted.

The County Lines Intensification  operation, which ran from Monday 1 March until Sunday 10 March, involved focused, co-ordinated action targeting county line offenders, safeguarding victims and protecting children and vulnerable adults.

A county line is a term used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal substances into towns and counties, using dedicated mobile phone lines to sell their products. They often exploit children and vulnerable adults to move and store their drugs and money, often with the use of intimidation, violence and weapons.

During the action a warrant at an address in York Street, Ramsgate, which uncovered class A drugs, a baton, CDS spray and a knuckle duster.

Two people who were in the property were arrested on suspicion of drug offences and bailed pending further enquiries.

Other activity included a warrant at an address in Tower Hill, Dover on 6 March where officers found several wraps of crack cocaine and heroin, cash and sim cards hidden within the packaging of a nappy bag on a child’s bed and on top of a wardrobe.

A further quantity of drugs were also found when searching a person who entered the property while officers were inside. Three people were arrested on suspicion of drug offences and have been bailed pending further enquiries. Officers also made arrangements to safeguard the children who were also inside the property.

Raids were also carried out in areas including Gravesend, Sittingbourne, Gillingham and West Kent

In addition to the enforcement activity, the team worked alongside other agencies to identify and safeguard those at risk of being exploited by the county lines dealers. This included safeguarding 15 people, including children who were provided help and support from The Catch22 County Lines Support and Rescue service.

Schools were also visited to educate young people on the dangers posed by gangs.

Detective Inspector Rob Goodban said: “County lines drug dealing is an issue shared by forces across the UK. It places vulnerable young people at risk of exploitation by those who travel to Kent and other counties to sell illegal substances.

“We know the detrimental impact the misuse of drugs can have on people’s lives and we work continuously to arrest and deter drug dealers targeting our towns all year round.

“But by running operations like these we are sending out a clear message to criminals that this behaviour will not be tolerated.”

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County Lines gangs preying on Thanet youngsters and the work being done to tackle them