Thousands of pounds of cash and drugs seized in Norwich in county lines police raids
PUBLISHED: 17:14 17 October 2019 | UPDATED: 17:14 17 October 2019
Four people were arrested in Norwich and hundreds of wraps of drugs seized in part of a record-breaking week of action to disrupt county lines.
Led by the National County Lines Coordination Centre, the week of action saw more than 700 arrests and half a million pounds worth of drugs seized.
The only arrests in Norfolk in the week of action between October 7 and 13 were in Norwich.
Four people were arrested and seizures included 400 wraps of Class A drugs and £9,000 in cash.
It is the fourth week of action from the NCLCC since it launched in 2018.
652 men and 91 women were arrested;
389 vulnerable adults and 292 children were engaged for safeguarding purposes;
655 cuckooed addresses were visited
49 'deal lines' were seized;
There were 41 referrals to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), which assesses individuals as potential victims of human trafficking/modern slavery;
Officers seized cash totalling £183,976
169 weapons were seized including:
12 firearms, swords, machetes, an axe, knives, samurai swords, and a crossbow
Significant amounts of drugs were recovered, totalling £426,040:
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£253,200 worth of cocaine
£100,170 worth of crack cocaine
£72,670 worth of heroin
Nikki Holland, National Crime Agency County Lines lead and Director of Investigations, said: "We are dismantling these criminal networks piece by piece.
"Criminal networks rely on the flow of money to further their drug trafficking operations and conceal their assets. Over the last year of county lines intensifications, we have seized more than a million pounds - hitting them where it hurts so they don't benefit from their crimes.
"We also know that criminal networks use high levels of violence, exploitation and abuse and we're seeing young and vulnerable people being identified as victims of modern slavery, as the criminals exploit and coerce them into doing the day-to-day drug supply activity.
"The only way we can effectively tackle this national problem is by adopting a whole-system approach, with partners in public health, Department for Education, social care and the charity sector working to prevent that exploitation happening in the first place."
County lines networks are now being told they will be treated as child traffickers, not just drug dealers, as law enforcement increasingly use modern slavery legislation to prevent the exploitation of young people.
National Police Chiefs' Council lead for County Lines, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Duncan Ball, said: "During the past week we have made further strides in tackling and dismantling the activities of county lines gangs. The large number of arrests and weapons seized is testament to the joined-up work between law enforcement and our partners.
"We will not treat the criminals who run these lines just as drug dealers. We will work tirelessly to prosecute them for these offences but also, where we have the evidence, we will seek to prosecute them for child trafficking under modern slavery laws to reflect the devastating nature of their exploitation of young and vulnerable people.
"We need the public to continue helping us with information or concerns they have. This can be done anonymously through Crimestoppers."
Anyone with concerns about County Lines can speak to local police on 101 or call 999 in an emergency. If you'd rather stay anonymous you can call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
If you are a young person who is worried about being involved in County Lines, or knows someone who is, you can speak to an adult and let them know how you feel.
You can also contact www.fearless.org who allow you to pass on information about crime anonymously.
You can also contact Childline on 0800 1111 - they are a private and confidential service where you can talk to counsellors about anything that is worrying you.