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 Multi-force operation targets County Lines drug dealing

 25/09/2020

​Officers took to the streets in a targeted operation against drug dealing last week.
 
A total of 18 people – ten from the Durham force area - have been arrested as part of the large-scale Operation Girona which aims to clampdown on the illegal supply of crack cocaine and heroin across Northern England.
 
The multi-force crackdown aimed to disrupt a suspected organised criminal group, which is believed to be running a County Line shipping Class A drugs into the region from the North West.
 
The activity formed part of the national intensification period to tackle this type of criminality and saw warrants being carried out at 15 addresses in Peterlee, Seaham, Stanley, Pelton Fell, Gateshead, Newcastle and in Widnes, Crewe, the Wirral, and Liverpool.
 
More than 100 officers from Durham, Northumbria, Merseyside, Cheshire and the North East Regional Special Operations Unit (NERSOU) took part in disruption activity.
 
The results saw the seizure of £16,000 in cash, 175g of heroin worth £2,800, more than 12,000 suspected illegal cigarettes, 165 packets of tobacco and 32 mobile phones. A number of vehicles were also recovered.
 
A total of 13 men, aged between 18 and 57, and five women, aged between 31 and 59, were all arrested on suspicion of Conspiracy to Supply Class A drugs throughout the United Kingdom. They have since been released under investigation.
 
Detective Chief Inspector Steve Thubron, who led the Durham side of the operation, said: “Drugs ruin lives and County Lines drug dealing is not something we will tolerate in our region.
 
“We will always work with our partners to disrupt the supply of illegal drugs, especially County Lines which sees dangerous criminals selling addictive substances to vulnerable drug users and exploit their addictions for financial gain.
 
“If you have suspicions about people in your area, I would urge you to report it so we can bring perpetrators to justice and help protect the vulnerable and our communities from these predators.
 
“The more intelligence we have from our communities, the bigger impact we can have in making our communities safer.”
 
Steve White, Acting Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner said: “The impact drugs have on individuals and communities can be devastating - they can destroy lives and vulnerable people are being threatened and exploited, often in their own homes.
 
“When it comes to County Lines, it is concerning to know that so many vulnerable people can be caught up in what is a destructive cycle - being groomed and exploited to act as couriers and dealers, ultimately causing more misery on other vulnerable people.
 
“That is why operations like this are vital in disrupting such activities, in addition to the positive work undertaken by police and partners to help reduce harm, safeguard the vulnerable and prevent crime caused by substance misuse.”
 
You can report a crime, or any suspicious activity anonymously at Crimestoppers or visit our website and use the Live Chat facility, here https://www.durham.police.uk/Contact-us/Pages/101-Live-Chat.aspx