100k seized at one address and 70 people safeguarded in 'county lines' week of intensification
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North Yorkshire Police have arrested 14 people and made safeguarding visits to 70 vulnerable people during a week of action targeting county lines drug dealing.
The activity was part of a national “week of intensification” led by the National Crime Agency that saw police forces across the country working to disrupt drug dealers and safeguard vulnerable people who are exploited by organised crime gangs. The week ran from 27 February to 05 March 2023.
Several teams from North Yorkshire Police were deployed to work on the week of action. The force’s intelligence team were responsible for working within the community to identify suspects, vehicles and vulnerable people subjected to exploitation. The operation expedite team is the force’s dedicated county lines team, they were out on the streets proactively stopping people and vehicles that are linked to the supply of drugs.
The Operational Support Unit also assisted with proactive patrols and the execution of warrants across the county.
Officers in Harrogate were supported by West Yorkshire Police in the execution of four warrants in Kirk Deighton and Leeds that are linked to county lines coming into the Harrogate area. At one address in Leeds officers recovered approximately £100,000 in cash.
As a result of the searches three arrests were made, a 19-year-old man was arrested for possessing with intent to supply a class a-drug, class b-drug and class c-drug.
A 26 -year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of a class-a drug.
A 41-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of possessing a controlled class-b drug and handling criminal property.
All three were released under investigation.
A 32-year-old attended a voluntarily interview and was issued a cannabis warning.
During the week of action officers focused on protecting vulnerable people who are the victim of cuckooing. The term “cuckooing” refers to the practice of drug dealers taking over the home of a vulnerable person and using it at a base to sell and store drugs. They often use violence and intimidation to achieve this. Victims of cuckooing are often drug users themselves, or people who are vulnerable due to a mental or physical disability, their age or lifestyle, such as sex workers and single mothers.
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Simpson who coordinated the week of activity in North Yorkshire, said:
“County lines drug dealing is a major priority for North Yorkshire Police, so much so that we have teams who are focused full-time on disrupting drug dealing activity.
“Although last week’s activity is part of a national week of intensification, it is indicative of the activity going on across North Yorkshire all of the time.
“The fact that we have safeguarded 70 people in one week shows our commitment to protect vulnerable people who have been or are at risk of being exploited by dealers.
“I would urge anyone with information about drug dealing in their community to call us on 101, we treat every piece of information as important.”
SPOT THE SIGNS
Cuckooing is the term given when drug dealers take over the home of a vulnerable person and use it at a base to sell and store drugs, often using violence and intimidation to achieve this. Cuckooing victims are often drug users themselves, or people who are vulnerable due to a mental or physical disability, their age or lifestyle, such as sex workers and single mothers.
So please look out for your vulnerable neighbours and report any concerns you have.
Signs of cuckooing to look out for include
Increased callers at a property at all times of the day or night
Increase in cars pulling up for short periods of time
Different accents at a property
Antisocial behaviour at a property
Not seeing the resident for long periods of time
Drug-related rubbish – small plastic bags, syringes
Windows covered or curtains closed for long periods
Unexplained or untreated injuries
Children are groomed and exploited to deal drugs on behalf of organised criminals. These are the signs to look out for:
Persistently going missing from school or home and / or being found out-of-area
Unexplained money, clothes, or mobile phones
Excessive receipt of texts / phone calls
Relationships with controlling / older individuals or groups
Leaving home / care without explanation
Suspicion of physical assault / unexplained injuries
Significant decline in school results / performance
Gang association or isolation from peers or social networks
Self-harm or significant changes in emotional well-being
Travelling long distances on public transport - is it term time? Should they be in school? Are they paying high cost fares with cash?
Anyone with concerns about county lines can speak to their local police on 101 or call 999 in an emergency. If you’d rather stay anonymous you can call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
If you are a young person who is worried about being involved in county lines, or knows someone who is, you can speak to an adult and let them know how you feel.
You can also contact www.fearless.org who allow you to pass on information about crime anonymously.
You can also contact Childline on 0800 1111 – they are a private and confidential service where you can talk to counsellors about anything that is worrying you.
Get help for drug addiction
North Yorkshire Rise – young people's specialist drug and alcohol service- freephone 08000 14 14 80 (option 2).
North Yorkshire Horizons - adult specialist drug and alcohol service - freephone 08000 14 14 80 – nyhorizons.org.uk
Changing Lives - City of York Drug and Alcohol Service - 01904 464 680 - changing-lives.org.uk/services/drug-alcohol/york-drug-alcohol-support-services/