Multiple arrests made in Banbury as part of Thames Valley Police operation tackling county lines drug dealing

A week of action by Thames Valley Police has led to 81 arrests, including seven in Banbury and £42,047 pounds cash being seized in connection with County Lines drug dealing.

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 12:17 am
Updated Thursday, 27th May 2021, 12:20 am

Last week ( May 17 to May 23) Thames Valley Police worked closely with partners, from local authorities, homeless charities and schools for a week-long intensification of activities to tackle County Lines drug dealing.

Of those 81 arrests made across the TVP policing area seven were made in Banbury.

County Lines drug dealing is the name given to drug dealing where organised criminal groups (OCGs) use phone lines to move and supply drugs, usually from cities into smaller towns and rural areas.

A week of action by Thames Valley Police has led to 81 arrests, including seven in Banbury in connection with County Lines drug dealing. (Image from TVP Banbury Twitter account)

This type of drug dealing exploits children and vulnerable adults who may have mental health or addiction problems. Generally, these people are exploited by OCGs to supply and run drugs, and are often forced into this activity through intimidation and violence. It’s a very harmful criminal business model which effects many in the Thames Valley.

Nationally organised crime is estimated to cost the UK economy over 37 billion pounds a year and has a significant impact on communities in the Thames Valley.

The week-long activity saw officers from the Thames Valley carrying out warrants, making arrests and other activity to disrupt County Lines drug dealers.

This led to 81 arrests of people who are connected to County Lines drugs, 17 warrants were executed, 129 searches were carried out, and officers took over 626 wraps of cocaine, heroin and cannabis off the streets of the Thames Valley.

Image of suspected cocaine seized by police in Banbury last week as part of the county lines operation (Image from TVP Banbury Twitter)

As part of the operation three warrants were executed in Banbury on the same day last week, which resulted in four drugs arrests. Closure orders have now been issued by the court for two of the addresses in Banbury where police executed search warrants as part of the operation.

The Banbury Guardian reported about the closure notices here: TVP press office has also confirmed the seizure of illegal drugs from three people at Banbury Train Station as part of the week-long operation.

Trained drugs detecting dogs helped officers seize the illegal drugs on Friday May 21.

The illegal drugs seizure was the result of a joint operation between the British Transport Police, the use of drugs detection dogs from the Inquest Canine Detection & Security LTD and Banbury officers with Thames Valley Police. The drugs were seized from three people, all of whom were dealt with using out of court disposals.

Cash seized at a residence in Banbury as part of the county lines operation last week (Image from TVP Banbury Twitter account)

Additionally officers seized over £42,000 pounds worth of cash and also seized 85 phones linked to County Line drug dealing.

Police also identified 29 vulnerable people and engaged with 95 people who were vulnerable, and officers also carried out 103 school visits to give young people and teachers the information they need to spot the signs that someone is being groomed by an OCG.

Police also intervened in 136 addresses where known “Cuckooing” has taken place. Cuckooing is where OCGs target the address of a vulnerable adult, taking over the property that the adult is living in and forcing them to sell drugs out of their home.

Detective Chief Superintendent Richard List, said: “This has been a hugely successful week for Thames Valley Police working with the National Crime Agency to tackle County Lines drug dealing.

Drugs seized last week in Banbury as part of the county lines operation (Image from TVP Banbury Tweet)

“Thames Valley Police sees tackling OCGs and county lines as an absolute priority and we are determined to continue to work closely with our partners including Local Authorities, Schools, Health Professionals and charities, to safeguard children and vulnerable adults.

“I see the fact that we have safeguarded a number of adults and children from being exploited through violence, fear and intimidation by drug dealers this week as a real success.

“We will continue to act every single day to stop those who seek to damage our communities through this extremely harmful criminal activity.

“It is important for us all to be familiar with the signs that someone might be the victim of drugs exploitation as only with the public’s help can we stop this.

“If you think someone shows sign of mistreatment, or a child seems to travelling long distances or is unfamiliar with the area they are in, then you can report your suspicions to Thames Valley Police on 101 or via our website.

“Engagement with the public is vital as well and we will continue to work together with our communities and partners so that we can protect vulnerable people, bring offenders to justice and make the Thames Valley a safer place.”

Trained drugs detecting dogs helped police officers seize illegal drugs from three people at the Banbury Train Station last week (Image from TVP Banbury Tweet)

Thames Valley Police has also worked alongside our regional colleagues in the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit.

Detective Inspector Lee Newman, County Lines regional co-ordinator for the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit, said: “We’ve provided support to forces with a range of specialist skills and co-ordinated activity to ensure we work together to identify and disrupt serious offenders causing the most harm in our communities.

“County Lines drug dealing has a significant impact upon communities and involves the exploitation of some of the most vulnerable people in society, including children.

“We’re committed to further developing our understanding of the methods used by organised criminals responsible for County Lines criminality to ensure we can continue to target them, while working closely with our partners to support victims.”