Fifteen arrested over county lines drug deals in Northamptonshire... and £12,000 seized

Northamptonshire police also seized several weapons
Northamptonshire police also seized several weapons

Fifteen people with links to county lines drug gangs were arrested by officers in Northamptonshire.

As well as making the arrests officers also recovered a Stanley knife, baseball bat, cocaine, heroin, crack cocaine, almost £12,000 cash and two vehicles.

The action was taken as part of a week of action tackling county lines drug supplies across the UK at the end of January.

Detective Chief Inspector Tony Hopkins from Northamptonshire Police, said: “Tackling gangs, including those involved in the supply of drugs is one of our top priorities and one which we are taking a robust approach to.

“County lines gangs travel from large cities to smaller towns and rural areas in order to set up as drug dealers, often taking over vulnerable people’s homes in order to have a base from which to work.

“They target children in order to store, carry and deal their drugs and will often use violence in order to get a foot-hold in the area they have set up in.”

As well as making arrests and seizing items including drugs and weapons, officers also conducted welfare checks of people who are vulnerable to being targeted by county lines gangs.

A National Crime Agency (NCA) assessment published last week into county lines drug supply, vulnerability and harm, highlighted how violence and control used by drug dealing networks is continuing and the exploitation of children and vulnerable adults is increasing.

Nationally the number of lines has increased to around 2,000 and children aged between 15 and 17 make up the bulk of vulnerable people involved in county lines, with both girls and boys are being groomed and exploited.

The grooming techniques seen as part of county lines are similar to what has been seen in child sexual exploitation and abuse, and often the young people don’t see themselves as victims. Instead they are flattered by the attention and gifts they receive, so are less likely to speak to law enforcement.

DCI Hopkins added: “We aim to make Northamptonshire a hostile place for these gangs to operate and will continue to take whatever action we can to challenge those people who travel to our county in order to commit crime.

“As part of that work we want to hear from anyone who may have any information or concerns about people involved in drug dealing or who may be associated with drug dealers. Information from the public is vital in helping us paint a picture of what is happening and who is involved.

“We want to hear from you no matter how small a piece of information you believe you may have. You can call us on 101 or call independent charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111.”