Watch this video to see what we achieved in the week of intensification:
North Yorkshire Police has taken part in a national week of action to target county lines drug dealing which has resulted in 26 arrests and the seizure of cash, suspected drugs, weapons and mobile phones.
Teams from across the force carried out proactive enforcement against those with suspected links to drugs offences.
The week of action took place between Monday 9 and Sunday 15 October 2023 and was coordinated by the National County Lines Coordination Centre (NCLCC).
(Drugs and Cash seized)
During the week, officers executed 14 warrants, seized over £70,000 in cash which is suspected to be linked to criminality as well as several Class A, B and C drugs. In Scarborough, officers located 1-2 kilograms of cocaine with an estimated street value of £70,000 from one vehicle. The 26 arrests took place in Scarborough, Whitby, Harrogate and York (see the below arrest round up for further details). Police also seized 11 dangerous weapons which included two machetes, three samurai swords, two knuckledusters and a pistol.
(Officers executing a warrant in York)
Drugs are often imported via the transport network and officers executed several warrants with support from the British Transport Police. There were also a number of proactive patrols at train and bus stations which involved the use of a specialist drugs dog.
County lines takes its name from the mobile phone lines used by dealers to communicate between towns and advertise drugs for sale. Vulnerable people - including children – are forced to deal drugs and they will often use local properties as a base for their activities; this is often acquired by force and referred to as ‘cuckooing’.
As part of the week of action, proactive safeguarding and welfare checks were conducted at hotels and Bed and Breakfasts where known vulnerable persons are living. In total officers safeguarded 73 people who are known or suspected as being vulnerable to county lines exploitation.
The force also held County Lines drop-in stalls in public areas for engagement within communities and members of the public.
To help raise awareness among children, the force worked with popular children's author of the ‘No More Knives’ and ‘Trapped by County Lines’ campaigns, Christina Gabbitas, to deliver talks alongside neighbourhood policing officers in several schools across the county.
(Christina Gabbitas working on a County Lines talk with Schools Liaison Officers in York)
Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Simpson, who led the week of activity for North Yorkshire Police, commented:
“Last week’s targeted activity demonstrates how we are working tirelessly to disrupt the supply of illegal drugs and protect the young and vulnerable in our communities who are exploited by them.
“It’s important to stress that this is just one week’s activity, and this type of disruption and safeguarding is taking place in communities across North Yorkshire all year round.
“As a force we are committed to cutting these County Lines and to protecting vulnerable people. But we cannot do this alone, our work with partners is important and we also need the support of the public. “It’s vital that everyone who cares for or knows young and vulnerable people understands the issue and knows the warning signs.”
Christina Gabbitas, added:
"After the success of working together with North Yorkshire Police, I was commissioned to write a sequel story ‘Trapped in County Lines’.
“The story aims to educate children and young people on the dangers of becoming involved with county lines through the power of storytelling.
“Children and young people can sadly be victims of exploitation from organised crime groups. County Lines is a harsh reality of life, and in my opinion shouldn't be sugar coated”.
Police received a report of a road traffic collision in Whitby where the driver and passenger of one of the vehicles involved had left the scene. A man in his 20s who was linked to the vehicle was arrested on suspicion of driving when unfit through drugs. Officers suspected the man to be involved in the supply of drugs and conducted a search at his address. A quantity of what is believed to be cocaine was recovered and he was further arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply. A woman in her 20s who is linked to the address was also arrested for the same offence. They were both interviewed and released under investigation pending further investigation. REF 12230191495
Officers carried out a search of a property in the Eastfield area of Scarborough. A large quantity of what is suspected to be cannabis was located as well as two machetes and a BB gun. A 16-year-old boy and a man in his 30s were both arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply a class-B drug. The 16-year-old was released with bail conditions which prevent him from entering North Yorkshire and the man in his 30s was released under investigation. REF 12230141887
A 16-year-old boy, a 17-year-old boy and an 18-year-old were arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply a class-A drug. The 17-year-old and 18-year-old were both released under investigation. The 16-year-old boy was released on conditional bail with conditions which prevent him from entering North Yorkshire. REF 12230192212
Five warrants were executed in one day in the Scarborough area. Officers searched a vehicle that was linked to one of the addresses and recovered approximately £100,000 worth of Class A and B drugs and £30,000 in cash. A 23-year-old man was arrested for being concerned in the supply of a class-B drug, possession with intent to supply a class-A drug and possession of criminal property. He was charged with possession with intent to supply cocaine and cannabis and remanded in custody to appear at York Magistrates’ Court the following day. He remains under investigation for other drugs offences. A 61-year-old man was arrested for being concerned in the supply of a class-A drug. He was interviewed and released under investigation. Another 23-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of a class-A drug he was interviewed and released on bail. REF 12230020227
A member of the public reported that three men were dealing drugs in a property in Scarborough town centre. Officers attended the property and recovered a quantity of cash, weapons, and drugs paraphernalia. Two men in their 20s and a man in his 40s were both arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of a class- A drug. They were interviewed and released on bail. REF 12230195553
(Police Officer ready to execute a warrant in Scarborough)
Officers acted on information which was obtained by the British Transport Police and executed two warrants in the Harrogate area. A 15-year-old boy was arrested for being concerned in the supply of a class-A drug and a Class-B drug and theft. A 20-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of a class-A drug and class-B drug. Both were released on conditional bail.
Officers from the force’s Expedite Team witnessed a suspected drug deal taking place on Albany Avenue in Harrogate. A 27-year-old man was arrested for being concerned in the supply of a class-A drug. He was interviewed and released under investigation. REF 12230177197
Police stopped a vehicle on Cheltenham Parade in Harrogate. A 24-year-old man was detained for the purpose of a search. Officers found ten bags of compressed white powder, a knuckleduster, scales, cash and four mobile phones. He was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply a class-A drug. He was interviewed and released under investigation REF 12230195579
Police received information that suspicious activity was taking place at a property which was linked to the supply of drugs. Officers attended and detained a 36-year-old man for a search. Class-A drugs, scales and a mobile phone were recovered. The man was arrested for possession with intent to supply a class-A and B drugs. He was charged with eight offences relating to the possession and supply of cocaine, heroin and cannabis and remanded in custody to appear at York Magistrates’ Court on 14 October. REF 12230194672
Officers from the force’s Operation Expedite team identified a vehicle on Church Lane in Harrogate linked to drug supply. Officers stopped the vehicle, the driver, a 32-year-old man, was arrested on suspicion of drug driving and entering the UK illegally. He was released under investigation for the driving offence and passed to immigration officials to be dealt with. REF 12230195337
Officers executed a warrant at an address in York city centre and recovered a quantity of what is suspected to be a class-C drug and a Samurai sword. A 55-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply a class-C drugs, and possession of an offensive weapon. He was released without charge in relation to the weapon, but remains under investigation for drug offences. REF 12230193018
Officers worked with West Yorkshire Police to identify two individuals who were suspected to be involved in the trafficking of drugs. Officers entered a hotel and arrested two men in their 20s on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of a class-A drug. One of the men, aged 22, was charged with six offences relating to the possession and supply of cocaine and heroin. He appeared at York Magistrates’ Court on 7 October and was sent for trial at a later date. The other man was released on conditional bail. REF 12230188931
Officers were on routine patrol on Rawdon Avenue in York when they suspected that two men were involved in the supply of drugs. Two 20-year-old men were arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of a Class-A drug. Both were interviewed and released on conditional bail. REF 12230194735
Police in York executed four warrants following information received that the occupants were working together on drug supply. Officers seized cash, drugs paraphernalia and phones. A 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply a Class-B drug. A second man, also 22-years-old was arrested for possession of an offensive weapon, possession of a Class-B drug, being concerned in the supply of a class-B drugs. He was also released on bail. REF:12230195168
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