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Police Scotland target County Lines drugs dealers


By David Porter

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Police Scotland officers across the country took part in a UK-wide week of activity targeting County Lines drugs dealers - who exploit the most vulnerable people in our communities, including children and young adults.

County Lines refers to criminals from larger cities who expand their operations into smaller towns.

They endeavour to exploit young and vulnerable people to sell drugs, carry cash and weapons – bringing violence, coercion and abuse.

They may also take over a vulnerable person’s house, or cuckooing.

Police Scotland’s assistant chief constable Pat Campbell, said: "County Lines gangs are not welcome in Scotland.

"They groom and exploit the most vulnerable people in our communities including children and young people. People are intimidated, coerced, threatened and force into storing or selling drugs.”

During the national intensification week between Monday 17 and Sunday May 23– co-ordinated by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) – proactive action by officers in Scotland saw engagement with 29 vulnerable people and 64 addresses, believed to be used for the purposes of cuckooing, visited.

20 people were arrested and controlled drugs - heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine and cannabis with an estimated street value of £40,000 were seized.

Over £20,000 in cash was recovered.

Offensive weapons, including a Taser, two machetes and two large knives, a number of mobile phones, a laptop and almost £500 of counterfeit cash, were seized.

County Lines gangs are known to use the postal system to transport drugs, and during the week of activity a number of post offices in Police Scotland’s Highlands and Islands Division were visited by the Dog Unit.

A package containing high-purity cocaine, with a street value of more than £25,000, was intercepted and a subsequent search of a property in Simpson Place in Dingwall saw cannabis worth around £40,000 being recovered. A 32-year-old man was arrested and enquiries are ongoing.

Assistant chief constable Campbell added: "Our officers remain absolutely committed to working with our partners to reduce the exploitation of vulnerable people and safeguard individuals who may be at risk, and pursue offenders.

"Together we will provide support to those targeted by unscrupulous criminals, to reduce ongoing risk and enable recovery; and we will continue to make Scotland a hostile environment to those who seek to engage in criminal activity.

"The positive results during the day of action are an example of this work which will continue in support of the Serious and Organised Crime Strategy and the Drug Harm Reduction Strategy.

“As ever, I would urge anyone with concerns to report them to Police Scotland or alternatively to Crime stoppers anonymously.”

In the Highland and Islands, £20,000 in cash and almost £500 in counterfeit notes were seized throughout the week. Officers recovered crack cocaine, heroin, and cocaine. Following the execution of a number of warrants over two kilograms of cannabis was recovered.

A warrant was executed in Balloan Road, Inverness and following a search of the property almost £1000 in cash, mobile devices, £2500 worth of heroin and £1,800 worth of crack cocaine were seized.

In the north-east, officers executed a warrant at a house in Stafford Street, Aberdeen and arrested two men, aged 36 and 45 years, for being in possession of heroin.

A 42-year-old man was arrested for being in possession of crack cocaine at a house in Granton Place, Aberdeen.

A 31-year-old man and a 25-year-old man were arrested for being in possession of cannabis and officers also seized a total of £1000 from the men.

A 27-year-old man was arrested and found to be in possession of heroin after he made off from officers after they stopped the car he was within in Summerhill Aberdeen.

Police in Fife executed a number of drugs search warrants in the Methil and Kennoway areas and recovered crack cocaine, with an estimated street value of over £3000 as well as over £5000 in cash and a Taser.

Two men, from the Birmingham area, aged 20 and 22 years, were arrested and charged and were due to appear at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court.

In Tayside officers executed warrants at a number of properties in Perth.

Heroin with a street value of over £600, cocaine worth almost £1500 and £1000 worth of cannabis were recovered from a property in Scott Street. Officers also found two machetes, nearly £1000 in cash, £470 in counterfeit bank notes and a number of mobile devices.

A 31-year-old man from Bradford was arrested after being found in possession of cocaine and cash after a warrant was executed at a house in Strathmore Street. Officers also recovered cocaine and mobile devices from a flat in Stanley Mills.

In the Lothians and Scottish Borders a stolen hire vehicle, believed to be used by County Line dealers was recovered in Edinburgh.



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