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Drop In Drug Offences Following Focus On County Lines Criminals

Drug crime dropped 14% in Warwickshire last year.

The drop in offences was revealed last week with the publication of 2018 crime data by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). It was the second biggest reduction in the country.

The success follows a focus by Warwickshire Police, Community Safety teams county-wide, and other partner agencies, on proactively targeting county lines drug crime in the county.

County lines‘ is a term used to describe gangs transporting drugs from bigger cities into smaller towns. This is a national problem involving drug gangs operating from cities including Birmingham, London, Manchester and Liverpool.

The ONS data for 2018 also showed a 1% drop in total recorded crime in the county. The force was one of only seven in the country to record a reduction.

Key successes from last year included:

  • In October, one of the main players in the Rugby drug trade was jailed for almost seven years. He was arrested as part of a Project Palladium, a major investigation into the supply of drugs into Warwickshire and Northampton.
  • In November, five members of a county lines drug gang were jailed for more the 20 years for their role in shipping drugs from Birmingham into Warwick and Leamington.
  • In November, three men were jailed for a total of more than six years after drugs were seized when their vehicles were stopped in Coventry. This was part of an intelligence led policing operation by Warwickshire Police.
  • In December, a man was sentenced to seven years in prison following an operation targeting the supply of drugs into Nuneaton and Atherstone.
  • In December, Operation Cerberus concluded in Stratford. This was a proactive policing operation targeting the supply of drugs coming from Leicestershire, Wolverhampton, Birmingham, London, Coventry and Liverpool. This led to 21 arrests and more than £30,000 of class A drugs seized.
  • In December, Operation Farrell concluded in Nuneaton. This saw 30 arrests for drugs offences and thousands of pounds worth of drugs seized.

“I’m pleased to see the drop in drug crime in Warwickshire and have no doubt that our work to tackle county lines drug crime has played a significant part in this.

“Drug crime has a huge impact on people, especially the most vulnerable members of the community.

“Drug dealing often leads to violent crime as dealers compete for supremacy, and petty crime as users try to fund their habit. By focusing on drug crime we are also tackling other types of crime that impact on the local community.

“The reduction in drug crime and total recorded crime reinforces our message that Warwickshire Police and its partners work hard to protect people who live, work and visit the county. It should also send a strong message to criminals that you are not welcome in the county and we are being proactive in looking for you.”

Detective Superintendent Neil Harrison

Recognise Potential Warning Signs That County Lines May Be Happening

  • Children or young people going missing from home or school.
  • Changes in a person’s behaviour or emotional well-being.
  • Children or young people socialising with unfamiliar people.
  • A person starting to abuse drugs and alcohol.
  • Someone acquiring money they can’t account for.
  • Someone buying expensive goods they can’t afford.
  • Lone children visiting from outside the area.
  • Someone with multiple phones, tablets or SIM cards.

Where Can I Report Concerns To?

If you have any suspicions or information that could help identifying any form of county lines in your area do not hesitate to call Police on 101.

Information can also be provided anonymously to the independent charity CrimeStoppers on 0800 555111.

What Support Is Out There For Victims?

Further information and guidance on county lines exploitation can be found on The Children’s Society website.

NSPCC and Childline offer sources of support for young people.

Mind is a source of help for those suffering with mental health issues.


More information about County Lines, and other forms of exploitation, can be found on our dedicated pages.

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