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Crackdown on County Lines drug gangs sees over 60 arrested in Thames Valley

16 raids were carried out and police seized drugs worth £30,000, over £120,000 in cash and weapons.

Thames Valley Police conducted the activity as part of a national week of action, focusing on disrupting those who look to commit drug offences and exploit communities.

Raids 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’.

Across this week of action, Thames Valley Police:

  • 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

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

Officers also visited previous victims of exploitation.

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 101, or by contacting Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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