A gang that were using railways to deliver drugs across the country have been arrested.
British Transport Police officers made ten gang-related arrests and seized four weapons during an operation targeting County Lines drug trafficking.
Lancashire Police joined officers from the transport police, the Met, Northampton, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, West Mercia, Hampshire, Norfolk, Surrey and Kent police to break up the gang.
Using both undercover and uniformed officers, the week focussed on pursuing offenders from drugs networks that exploit children and vulnerable people.
Working closely with other police forces, including the National Crime Agency, officers identified and arrested gang members as they travelled on the rail network to drugs markets in county towns outside of London.
The arrests were made at Clapham Junction, Peterborough and Waterloo stations. During the arrests 28 drug seizures were made including of heroin, crack cocaine, cocaine and cannabis.
Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Furnell said: “We know that that criminal networks are exploiting young children and vulnerable adults by coercion, the threat of violence and sexual exploitation, as a means to control people into trafficking drugs.
“The harm that County Lines gangs inflict is significant, which is why we are focussing our resources to spot these offenders and tackle them as they use the national rail network.
“Disrupting this toxic gang activity also helps us develop detailed intelligence of offending, but also ensures that vulnerable people are safeguarded from harm.
“Working with our policing and rail partners to tackle all exploitation and county lines activity is a priority for us. We are sharing intelligence, delivering joint operations and we are determined to safeguard vulnerable people targeted by these criminals.
“Of course, the public can also play a vital role in helping us safeguard vulnerable individuals who are caught up in this activity. If you see someone travelling who is showing signs of mistreatment, or a child who is travelling long distances by themselves, or is unfamiliar with where they are, please text us on 61016 or call 0800 40 50 40.”