Police join forces to crackdown on County Lines Organised Crime Groups in Merseyside
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Police officers from Merseyside and Cheshire have today, Tuesday 28th January, joined forces in a crackdown on County Lines Organised Crime Groups (OCGs) responsible for cross border drugs supply and the criminal exploitation of young and vulnerable people.
Project Medusa is a Merseyside-led initiative which has seen warrants executed at five addresses in Merseyside this morning – in Anfield, Huyton and the Dingle area.
A total of 12 people have been detained; a 21 year-old man and a 25 year-old woman have been arrested on suspicion of County Lines-related drugs offences and a gas-powered firearm has also been recovered from an address in Anfield.
We have also made a referral order in relation to a vulnerable 16 year-old boy who was found in a property in Anfield.
Searches at the properties remain ongoing.
Today's operation follows on the back of four successful operations conducted by Merseyside Police with other force areas including Cumbria, Staffordshire, Northumbria and North Wales when a number of arrests and seizures of drugs, weapons and mobile phones were carried out. A number of stop searches were also carried out.
Earlier this month Home Secretary Priti Patel joined officers on Merseyside as warrants were executed and a total of 16 people were arrested and 87 stop searches were carried out around the North West and North Wales.
Talking about today’s activity, Detective Inspector Allison Woods said: "We have seen considerable success through this kind of targeted action in recent months and weeks and it is vital that we keep up this level of activity.
"We want those Organised Crime Groups who are responsible for County Lines to know that we are prepared to take all necessary action to stop them and to bring them to justice.
"Our aim is to do everything we can to disrupt and frustrate their movements.
"Our intelligence picture continues to grow by the day and by working with our partners means we can use a combination of tactics to ensure we get the best results.
"It is also important that we support and protect those who are most at risk of being exploited from these gangs and I would urge anyone who believes they know of a vulnerable person who has been targeted to contact us so that we can take appropriate action."
Assistant Chief Constable Matt Burton from Cheshire Police said: "Today’s operation highlights how powerful and hard-hitting the police can be when working jointly to target those involved in county lines criminality.
"We know criminals often use the rail network to travel into Cheshire from Merseyside in order to deal drugs in our communities and make a profit. This operation was our opportunity to show we are one step ahead and ready to prevent them from doing so.
"We must not forget that these organised crime gangs can prey on vulnerable adults and exploit, coerce and manipulate children to deliver and deal drugs on their behalf. We will not allow that to happen in our communities and we will continue to work hard to protect vulnerable adults and children and ensure Cheshire is a safe place."
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.