Six Lancashire men arrested in raids targeting County Lines drugs gangs

Six men from Lancashire have been arrested as part of a major police operation aimed at disrupting the supply of drugs.

Wednesday, 26th February 2020, 1:48 pm
Updated Wednesday, 26th February 2020, 4:02 pm

Six men from Lancashire, as well as five people from Liverpool and Birmingham, have been arrested as part of Project Medusa, a major operation aimed at disrupting the supply of drugs.

Lancashire Police, alongside officers from Merseyside, Cumbria, Police Scotland and British Transport Police joined together for the operation which took place yesterday (Tuesday, February 25).

Warrants were executed across the county including addresses in Blackpool, Preston, Lancaster and Morecambe.

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A quantity of suspected Class A drugs, cash, phones and an imitation firearm were seized during the raids.

The operation followed intelligence suggesting drugs gangs from Liverpool were expanding their operations into the areas, using violence to drive out local dealers and exploiting children and vulnerable people to sell drugs – also known as County Lines.

Det Ch Insp Becky Smith, of Lancashire Police, said: “County Lines is an increasingly significant threat both nationally and locally within Lancashire.

“Areas within the county such as Blackpool, Lancaster, Morecambe and Preston are targeted by these gangs as there is a demand for Class A drugs and high levels of vulnerability.

Six men from Lancashire have been arrested as part ofProject Medusa,a major operation aimed at disrupting the supply of drugs.(Credit: Lancashire Police)

"While for years we have worked hard to tackle the supply of controlled drugs into our communities, County Lines is far more concerning as it involves the exploitation of vulnerable children and adults who are often subjected to coercion, threats and serious violence.

“We are determined to tackle county lines drug dealing in Lancashire, keep our communities safe, bring criminals to justice and protect the vulnerable.

“This week’s action has included working with other North West forces to target and crackdown on offenders who come into Lancashire to deal drugs, cause violence and target vulnerable people to exploit them.

“Every day we are working pro-actively to gather intelligence and carry out operations to both target county lines drug dealers and to identify those at risk from this type of criminality.”

A quantity of suspected Class A drugs, cash, phones and an imitation firearm were seized during the raids. (Credit: Lancashire Police)

Officers across the forces carried out raids at addresses of those believed to be involved in County Lines drugs supply.

Police also targeted County Lines offenders using the railway, bus stations and the motorway network spanning from Merseyside to the Scottish borders.

Officers from the BTP specialist County Lines Taskforce were deployed at Liverpool Lime Street station, Wigan North Western station and Preston station as well as on board trains travelling up to Scotland.

Det Chief Insp Smith added: “Project Medusa is designed to hit criminals hard but also make sure young and vulnerable people who have been criminally exploited are treated sensitively and with understanding.

Warrants were executed across the county including addresses in Blackpool, Preston, Lancaster and Morecambe.(Credit: Lancashire Police)

“Working cross border with other police forces and a range of other agencies is key in disrupting and dismantling county lines and putting offenders behind bars.

"We are sending out a strong message that this criminality activity will not be tolerated and that we will continue to work together with our partners and regional forces to disrupt anyone involved in county lines and bring them to justice.

“To do this we need intelligence coming from our communities across Lancashire to alert us to potential drugs activity so that we can investigate and bring organised gangs to justice, as well as safeguarding people, particularly children, who have been exploited and are victims.

“I would encourage anyone who has information regarding county lines teams active in Lancashire to contact us or if they’d prefer to in confidence to use Crimestoppers.”

Six men from Lancashire were arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs:

- A 46-year-old man from Preston arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply - Class A.

Lancashire Police, alongside officersfrom Merseyside, Cumbria, Police Scotland and British Transport Police joined together for the operation.(Credit: Lancashire Police)

- A 47-year-old man from Preston arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply – Class A.

- A 35-year-old man from Preston arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply – Class A.

- A 36-year-old man from Chorley arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply - Class A.

- A 47-year-old man from Chorley arrested on suspicion of supplying a controlled drug.

- A 34-year-old man from Chorley arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply – Class A.

Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner said: "This operation is a fantastic example of the work that officers carry out across Lancashire around the clock to help keep people safe. We work with partners both within and outside the county to tackle county lines drugs gangs and take them off our streets.

"It is also clear from this operation how different teams within the force work around the clock to tackle crime in the county. We often see a range of specialist officers and different policing teams involved, highlighting that officers have the skills, resources and determination to stop criminal gangs.

"A lot of the work being done to combat criminal gangs often goes unseen but it is happening and information from the public plays a vital role in supporting our officers' hard work to keep people across Lancashire safe."

Four men from Liverpool and Birmingham were also arrested during the raids:

- A 37-year-old man from Liverpool arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs.

- A 22-year-old man from Liverpool arrested on suspicion of supplying a controlled drug.

- A 20-year-old man from Birmingham arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply – Class A.

- A 21-year-old man from Birmingham arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply – Class A.

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46 people arrested across Lancashire and North West in raids targeting County Li...
Officers were deployed at Liverpool Lime Street station, Wigan North Western station and Preston stationas well as on board trains travelling up to Scotland.(Credit: Lancashire Police)
Project Medusa is designed to hit criminals hard, according to Lancashire Police. (Credit: Lancashire Police)