27 people arrested after county lines drugs raids in Blackpool and Lancashire

27 people have been arrested in a police crackdown on so-called "county lines" gangs in Blackpool, Lancashire and Merseyside.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 8:10 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 8:14 pm

Out of the 27 arrests, seven have been held on suspicion of Class A drugs supply offences and four on suspicion of drug driving.

Young and vulnerable people are used as couriers to move drugs and cash between cities and smaller towns.

Officers were deployed to areas of Lancashire and Blackpool, as well as transport hubs in Merseyside, to disrupt criminal activity.

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Young and vulnerable people are used as couriers to move drugs and cash between cities.

This was part of the ongoing Project Medusa, a Merseyside-led initiative set up to tackle county lines drug dealing and child criminal exploitation.

Chief Insp Sarah Jones said: "The organised criminal gangs who operated these County Lines, groom and exploit the most vulnerable people in our communities including children and young people to store and sell drugs.

"They are intimated, coerced, threatened and often subject to violence. Joint policing operations such as today’s play a vital part in not only putting offenders behind bars, but identifying and safeguarding young and vulnerable people that are being exploited.

"We cannot do this without the help of our communities and I would urge everyone to familiarise themselves with the signs that someone is being exploited and coerced into criminality, and report it to police so we can take action."

A total of 27 people have been arrested following the raids. (Credit: Lancashire Police)

Those arrested include:

- A man was arrested after police spotted a drugs transaction taking place. Two men were stopped by officers and searched under the Misuse of Drugs Act. One of the men had reportedly secreted 96 street deals of what is believed to be class A drugs on his person. He was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs.

- Another man was arrested after he attempted to run from police. He was detained and found with items believed to be Class A drugs and £290 in cash. He was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs

- A man believed to be involved in the supply of controlled drugs was found with £5,000 in cash. He was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in supply of Class A drugs and possession of criminal property

The activity was part of ongoing Project Medusa, an operation led by Merseyside Police and set up to tackle County Lines drug dealing and child criminal exploitation.

- A woman was arrested on suspicion of drug supply offences. She was found to be in possession of two deals of white powder and two deals of brown powder which are believed to be crack cocaine and heroin. A further search then recovered a number of other suspected street deals secreted on her person.

DCI James Edmonds said: "Class A drug supply has a huge impact on the community and today's activity demonstrates a commitment from Lancashire Constabulary, Merseyside Police and Blackpool Council to tackle this criminality together. Those engaging in this activity should be warned that they will be targeted and brought to justice.

"The arrests across Lancashire and Merseyside demonstrate our determination to tackle local dealers and those that supply them. County Lines groups target vulnerable people in our communities and we will work tirelessly with our partners to protect vulnerable people.£

Anyone with information which could help police and their investigation into County Lines criminality can DM @MerPolCC, call 101 or contact the Crimestoppers line anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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