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 Four arrested in cross-border county lines operation

 25/02/2020

​Four men have been arrested following a cross-border operation targeting so-called county lines drug dealing.


A team of officers from Durham Constabulary, supported by colleagues from West Yorkshire Police, British Transport Police and Greater Manchester Police, targeted two addresses in Manchester and two in Leeds in connection with county lines drug dealing in Darlington.


Two men were arrested in Leeds and two were arrested in Manchester. All four were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and remain in custody. Large amounts of Class A drugs and cash were also recovered.


The operation was the culmination of months of painstaking intelligence gathering by the three forces to investigate those suspected of being involved in county lines activity.


Detective Sergeant Graham Low, from Durham Constabulary led the investigation. He said: “Today’s operation is the result of an extensive and complex investigation spanning a number of months.


“County lines drug dealing causes misery to our local communities and exploits the most vulnerable in our society.


“I hope today’s activity sends out a clear message that we will not tolerate criminality of this nature in our force area, and we will take action to dismantle, disrupt and destroy these networks.”


County lines is a term used when drug gangs from big cities expand their operations to smaller towns, often involving violence to drive out local dealers and exploiting children and vulnerable people to sell drugs.


These dealers will use dedicated mobile phone lines to take orders from drug users. In most instances, the users or customers will live in a different area where the dealers and networks are based, so drug runners are needed to transport the drugs and collect payment.


Det Sgt Low added: “Today’s operation would not have been possible without the support of local people who have come forward with vital pieces of intelligence.


“Intelligence from members of the public is key to enable us to take action against this type of crime.


“I would encourage anyone who has any concerns about young or vulnerable people becoming involved in illegal drug activity to come forward and speak to us.”


Anyone with information on potential drug dealing in their area should contact Durham Constabulary on 101.


Alternatively, information can be passed on anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


Signs county lines drug dealing is happening in your area:

• An increase in visitors and cars to a house or flat
• New faces appearing at the property
• Different accents at the property
• Antisocial behaviour at the property
• A change in the resident’s mood
• Evidence of drug use
• Windows covered or curtains closed for long periods