Drugs, cash, machete, knives and air weapons seized in crackdown on county lines gangs in South Yorkshire

Drugs, thousands of pounds and weapons including a machete, knives and a baton were seized during a crackdown on county lines gangs in South Yorkshire.

By Claire Lewis
Tuesday, 22nd March 2022, 2:05 pm

During a week long crackdown between March 7 and 13, South Yorkshire Police took part in a national week of action tackling county lines drug gangs and child exploitation.

County lines is the term used when illegal drugs are transported from one area to another, often across police boundaries. It usually involves children or vulnerable people who are coerced into it by gangs.

The gangs often take over vulnerable adults’ homes, which is known as cuckooing, and use them as a base to deal drugs.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Police have been cracking down on county lines gangs across South Yorkshire

Three such properties were identified and the residents have since been safeguarded.

Raids across South Yorkshire led officers to seizing more than £1,000 worth of crack cocaine and cannabis plants with a street value of £157,000.

A machete, four knives, a baton, five airsoft weapons, and £9,120 in cash was seized, as well as three mobile phones that will be investigated for evidence linked to exploitation or drug dealing.

One woman and 13 men were arrested.

Detective Inspector Ben Wood, who led the operation, said: “National weeks of action like this are so important for us to shine a light on issues around child exploitation and county lines.

“We know how devastating this type of crime can be to families and communities across South Yorkshire. Although this week was around disrupting county lines activity, we have also been raising awareness of child exploitation. Everybody has a role to play in spotting the signs a child might be exploited, through drug running, money laundering or sexually.”

During the operation, an adult and 12 youths were identified as being vulnerable and at risk of becoming exploited by county lines gangs.

DI Wood added: “Education plays a really key role in raising awareness with young people about the risks of county lines and exploitation. We have visited a number of schools and spoken directly to young people about these dangers.

“Although the week of action for county lines is now over, our work to disrupt this is far from over. We have dedicated teams that will continue every day to make South Yorkshire safer for everyone.”