Over £3million drugs seized as police disrupt county lines
Thousands of cannabis plants with a street value of £3million have been seized by South Yorkshire Police as part of a national week of action to tackle the exploitation of vulnerable people, particularly children, forced to sell drugs.
The force also recovered £60,000 cash from people with suspected links to drugs supply and organised criminal activity as part of the county lines intensification week between May 17 and 23.In addition, across the week, 18 people were arrested on suspicion of various drug offences and safeguarded 11 individuals that police believed were being exploited.DI Aneela Khalil-Khan said: “The production and supply of drugs is irrevocably linked to violent crime and the exploitation of vulnerable people. This needs to be stopped.“Members of organised crime groups systematically move children and vulnerable adults between counties in order to supply drugs and widen their network. This is what county lines is. Gangs also ‘cuckoo’ vulnerable adults, which sees them take over their homes to distribute drugs over a period of days, weeks, or even months.
“It’s vital we all work together to disrupt criminals and protect those most at risk. It’s something we prioritise constantly, but these weeks of action enable us to pool resources and work together to take action and gain a better understanding of what is happening in our force area. While our tasking teams target suspect addresses, PCSOs and neighbourhood officers go and speak to those most at risk of being targeted and mistreated and if needed, put safeguarding measures in place.”DI Khalil-Khan added: “Tackling this type of criminality and protecting vulnerable people cannot be done by us alone, and we are working hard alongside key partner agencies, local schools and charities to raise awareness and protect those who are most at risk.“Victims are often mistakenly viewed as having chosen to engage in criminal behaviour. What we need to understand is why they are engaging in this and how they became involved.“Simultaneously, we also need to focus on enforcement activity, disrupting criminal networks and taking drugs off the streets.”If you have any information in relation to drugs supply, or you are worried about someone close to you becoming involved in criminal activity, call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.