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Officers from the force’s Project Medusa team have been working with partners in Dorset Police, as part of a joint investigation into County Lines drug dealing.
The two-day operation was part of the ongoing Project Medusa, an operation led by Merseyside Police and set up to tackle County Lines drug dealing and child criminal exploitation.
Officers from both forces were deployed across Dorset, as well as to transport hubs in the area, to disrupt criminal activity and safeguard young and vulnerable people exploited by criminal gangs.
Over the course of the two-day operation:
• 15 arrest were made
• 8 vehicles were seized
• A warrant was carried out which resulted in the seizure of approximately £1,000 in cash, a small quantity of suspected class A drugs, and an imitation firearm
• Quantities of suspected drugs, cash and stolen property seized - including 1kg of cannabis following a stop check
• Over 50 safe and well checks of vulnerable people were carried out.
A Merseyside Police spokesperson said: “This was our first Medusa deployment into Dorset and has proved a successful first step into this area. It shows our continued commitment to work with partners in other forces to crack down on County Lines drug supply.
“The criminals who operate County Lines do not respect borders, the communities they bring misery to, or the vulnerable people they exploit in the pursuit of illegal proceeds of crime. Project Medusa is dedicated to cutting these County Lines dead and will work with other forces to trace those responsible and help those who may be exploited by these organised criminal gangs.
“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 the appropriate support. Our primary target is those who seek to use them for their own selfish gain.”
ACC Steve Lyne said: “This operation saw us reinforce our commitment to be relentless in making Dorset a hostile place for criminals and organised crime. County lines is a particularly unpleasant crime as it relies on the exploitation of vulnerable people – including vulnerable children. By working with colleagues and partners in this way, we don’t just tackle the gangs who bring misery to our communities, but we also safeguard the vulnerable people at risk of being exploited.
“Working with our colleagues in Merseyside allows us to attack these gangs in both the locations where they originate and the places where they have decided to set up shop. This sends a clear message to county lines gangs that Dorset is not a safe place for them to carry out their business and we will do everything we can to disrupt their activities and keep our communities safe.”
Read more here about how to spot the signs of exploitation linked to drug dealing and the Eyes Open campaign: https://www.merseyside.police.uk/police-forces/merseyside-police/areas/campaigns/campaigns/2018/eyes-open/.
You can also report any concerns to police on 999 if a crime is in progress, via 101, or via Twitter @MerPolCC or Facebook 'Merseyside Police Contact Centre'.
You can also pass information via the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or via their online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/give-information.