Twelve arrested following operation targeting County Lines drug supply
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Officers from Merseyside Police and West Mercia Police have arrested twelve people and recovered drugs, cash and weapons following an operation targeting those involved in County Lines drug supply yesterday, Wednesday, 23 December.
The activity was part of ongoing Project Medusa, an operation led by Merseyside Police and set up to tackle County Lines drug dealing and child criminal exploitation.
Officers were deployed to areas of Shropshire as well as transport hubs in Merseyside to disrupt criminal activity and safeguard young and vulnerable people exploited by criminal gangs.
Those arrested include:
• Two 15-year-old males and a 17-year-old male arrested on suspicion of possession of a section 5 firearm, after a CS gas canister was seized following a stop search at Liverpool Lime Street station. Following a subsequent search of two addresses, a number of weapons including an air rifle and machete were recovered from an address in Huyton and the 17-year-old male was further arrested on suspicion of transferring prohibited weapons. They have since been released under investigation. • A 52-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent supply class A drugs after a quantity of suspected cocaine and heroin was recovered following a stop search in Oswestry. Following a subsequent search of a property, further drugs, cash and a knife was recovered. She has been released under investigation as enquiries continue. • A 31-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of possession of a class A drugs following a stop search in Whitchurch. • A 31-year-old man arrested on suspicion of possession of cannabis following a stop search at Liverpool Lime Street station. • Three men were arrested on suspicion of drug driving, and a fourth man was arrested on suspicion of drink driving following stop checks in Shropshire.
Inspector Katie Wilkinson said: “Our work to target those involved in criminality continues all year round, and over the festive period we will continue to work jointly with other forces and partner agencies to crack down on County Lines drug supply.
“Criminal gangs often target vulnerable people to do their dirty work on the ground and deal drugs across borders, which can have a devastating impact on communities near and far. Joint policing operations such as yesterday’s play a vital part in not only putting offenders behind bars, but identifying and safeguarding young and vulnerable people that are being exploited.
“We cannot do this without the help of our communities and I would urge everyone to familiarise themselves with the signs that someone is being exploited and coerced into criminality, and report it to police so we can take action.
“Ultimately everyone should be warned that if you get involved in crime, you risk facing the consequences. But when we identify vulnerable, exploited people during our enquiries, we ensure they are treated with sensitivity and understanding, and are offered appropriate support. Our primary target is those who seek to use them for their own selfish gain.”
Anyone with information which could assist our investigation into County Lines criminality can DM @MerPolCC, call 101 or contact the Crimestoppers line anonymously on 0800 555 111.