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Sixteen arrests and eight safeguarded in county lines week of action

16 arrests made and 8 vulnerable people safeguarded during a week of action for police dealing with ‘County Lines’ activity in Staffordshire. 

During the week of activity eight arrests were made in Stoke-on-Trent, three in Burntwood, two in Newcastle, and one each in Burton, Cannock and Rugeley. 

Cash totalling £1,325 was seized as well as crack cocaine to the value of £1,700, heroin to the value of £1,880 and £500 worth of cocaine. 

Weapons including a Samurai sword and knives were confiscated. 

Eight cuckooed addresses were visited and seven vulnerable men and one vulnerable woman safeguarded. 

A Stoke-on-Trent man was also jailed for 2 years 10 months for acting as a courier, transporting heroin between Redditch and Birmingham. 

Forces and agencies across England and Wales worked together from May 13-20 in an Intensification Week targeting this activity, which is where groups of young men from an urban area move into smaller towns to distribute crack cocaine or heroin. 

The groups use vulnerable young people, often aged 14 to 24, to traffic the drugs after deals are agreed remotely through a mobile or ‘line.’ 

The young people involved may be coerced into this activity through debt, drugs use, grooming, threats or violence.

Typical risk factors for those involved are mental health problems, drug use, debt, being known to the care system, and being prone to missing episodes. 

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Bentley, of Staffordshire Police, said: “This has been another intensive week of activity focusing on protecting the vulnerable in our communities and dealing with offenders. 

“We’re working hard to tackle this challenge by disrupting those who would deal drugs in our communities. 

“It has been a busy week, but the work continues and we will arrest and charge those dealing drugs but look to safeguard the young and vulnerable who may be pressured into this type of activity.” 

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