Fourteen arrests during week of action to tackle county drugs lines
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The Bedfordshire Police crackdown included charging two men suspected of being at the head of two separate drugs lines in the county.
Last week’s series of operations began with a warrant conducted at an address in the Stopsley area of Luton. Officers found items including cannabis, materials associated with drug dealing and a burner mobile phone.
Subsequently a man in his 20s was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply and possession of cannabis, as well as possession of criminal property.
Officers arrested another man in his 20s on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine and heroin, possession of cannabis and use of threatening behaviour to cause harassment.
A second warrant was executed in Luton on Friday (13 October), resulting in five arrests. Money, mobile phones and as offensive weapon were also seized from the property. A man in his 40s has since been charged with possession with intent to supply Class A drugs and possession of an offensive weapon. One vulnerable adult was safeguarded, and a partial closure was implemented on the address.
During this intensification period Bedfordshire Police also targeted criminals exploiting major road and rail networks to commit serious crime, focusing their efforts on those suspected of operating county line networks.
In Bedfordshire, this resulted in six arrests and nine vehicle stops in which drugs were seized. Four vehicles and one weapon were taken off the streets over a three-day period in October.
Detective Inspector Ali Whitworth from Bedfordshire Police said: “County lines gangs fuel violence and the exploitation of our young people. They are criminals who plague our streets with illicit drugs and destroy countless lives.
“I’m incredibly proud of the headway we are making in Bedfordshire, but acknowledge we cannot take our foot off the pedal.
“Our commitment remains to protect those who are being exploited by organised crime. We will relentlessly pursue drug dealers and do our bit to take down every county line we encounter.”
Forces across the country took part in county lines intensification week, which saw 250 county lines dismantled and 1,613 arrests made across the country.
Across the Eastern region, 132 people were safeguarded, including 35 children, thanks to the efforts of different police forces.
Exploitation, coercion and violence are cornerstones of the county lines trade, and cannabis is used by gangs to trap young people into debt, forcing them to transport their drugs and sell to other children to continue the cycle.