Police make two arrests in Banbury as part of national week of action to tackle county lines drug dealing

Thames Valley Police made two arrests in Banbury as part of a national week of action to tackle county lines drug dealing across the Thames Valley area.

Between October 11 and 17, officers from Thames Valley Police carried out activity as part of a national week of action focusing on disrupting those who look to commit drug offences and exploit communities.

Warrants were carried out across the three counties last week, aiming to disrupt illegal activity as well as taking drugs off the streets.

County lines 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.

They exploit vulnerable people, including children and those with mental health or addiction issues, by recruiting them to distribute the drugs, often referred to as ‘drug running’.

As well as this enforcement activity, officers have been working with schools to conduct educational sessions that help children to understand the dangers of drugs, drug supply and how criminal groups can exploit young people.

Police confirmed a man and woman from Banbury were among the 61 people arrested as part of the week-long operation.

Police arrested a 36-year-old women from Banbury on suspicion of possession with intent to supply class A drugs on Tuesday October 12 in Banbury. Police seized some suspected heroin during the arrest. Police also arrested a 38-year-old man from Banbury on the same day for suspicion of possession with intent to supply class A drugs.

Police make two arrests in Banbury as part of national week of action to tackle county lines drug dealing (Image TVP Tweet)

Across this week of action, Thames Valley Police made the following actions:

- Executed 16 warrants across the force.

- Arrested 61 people.

- Stopped 51 vehicles thought to be linked to county drug lines.

- Seized over 430g of crack, heroin and cocaine thought to be worth an estimated £30,000.

- Seized 22 weapons.

- Seized over £120,000 of cash associated with drug dealing.

- Engaged with 101 vulnerable people.

- Made 40 visits to schools.

Chief Superintendent Jim Weems, of Thames Valley Police, said: “Tackling county lines drug dealing and preventing exploitation from taking place in our communities is vitally important.

“The results from the past week of action are really positive with arrests being made, the seizure of drugs, cash and weapons as well as the safeguarding of a large number of people.

“Despite this intensification work, Thames Valley Police focuses on combatting county lines every day and this will continue beyond the dedicated week of action.

“Through our Stronghold campaign, we are committed to working in partnership to tackle serious organised crime and exploitation, such as county lines drug dealing.

“The action this week should serve as a warning to offenders that we do not tolerate drugs being dealt or exploitation in our communities. As seen this week, we will find out who you are, arrest you and stop your activity.

“Intelligence from the community is also really important to us. Your information can help us to build up a picture of what is happening in your area so we can take the appropriate action.

“If you have any concerns around potential county drug line activity, you can make a report by calling us on 101, or by contacting Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Detective Inspector Lee Newman, county lines regional co-ordinator for the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU), said: “County Lines drug dealing and associated criminality causes immeasurable harm to our communities, putting the most vulnerable in society at risk from exploitation.

“SEROCU works closely with police forces and partnership agencies in the south east to ensure staff have access to the specialist resources and training to target offenders. We work collaboratively to safeguard victims of these offences and to ensure those who exploit them face justice. We also work closely with prisons to disrupt those involved in County Lines activity.”