Police Scotland acts to protect young people from County Lines drug dealers

Sunday March 17th 2024


Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

During a national County Lines intensification week Police Scotland took action to protect vulnerable people and targeted the drugs dealers who exploit them.

Between Monday 4th March and Sunday 10th March 2024, officers identified and safeguarded vulnerable people across the country, illegal drugs, cash and offensive weapons, including a firearm, were also recovered.

County Lines is criminal activity by those from larger cities who expand their operations into smaller towns. They exploit young and vulnerable people to sell drugs, carry cash and weapons – bringing violence, coercion and abuse. They can also take over a vulnerable person’s house – known as cuckooing.

During the intensification week, a joint Police Scotland and Dorset Constabulary day of action aimed at human trafficking took place, with warrants at addresses in Aberdeen, Bournemouth and Poole being executed. Officers from Dorset travelled to Aberdeen and, with the assistance of Police Scotland officers, arrested a 21-year-old man from Bournemouth for human trafficking offences.

Chief Superintendent Dave Ferry, Police Scotland’s Head of Organised Crime, said:

“Organised criminals don’t care about the people in our communities, they only care about power and money. They exploit vulnerable people, they groom and threaten them to become involved in their activities.

“This is simply not welcome or tolerated in Scotland.

“Over the week we worked in partnership with national organisations, including the Serious Organised Crime Taskforce, to crack down on those involved in County Lines activity.”

During the UK-wide initiative – co-ordinated by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) – officers in Scotland safeguarded 22 vulnerable people and engaged with another 1070. They also visited 24 addresses.

Throughout the week 14 men and 2 women were arrested for a variety of offences. Officers executed 15 drug and evidential search warrants.

Illegal drugs, including around £25,000 worth of cocaine and crack cocaine, £35,000 worth of heroin as well as cannabis and amphetamine were seized – as was over £4,200 in cash.

Several offensive weapons including a Taser, an imitation pistol, two machetes and eight knives were recovered. 57 mobile phones were also seized.

Chief Superintendent Ferry added: “These hugely positive results during the intensification week are an example of our continuing work in support of Scotland’s Serious and Organised Crime Strategy.

“I would urge anyone who has concerns about County Lines activity or knowledge of who may be involved to contact Police Scotland or alternatively to Crimestoppers anonymously.”

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