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Working alongside other forces and partners, Merseyside Police has been continuing its crackdown on County Lines drug dealing, during County Lines Intensification Week, as part of regional and national action to tackle the issue.
Co-ordinated by the force’s Project Medusa team, the intensification week (which ran last week, from Monday 3 October – Sunday 9 October) included operations, warrants, visits to vulnerable people and saw our officers travel to West Mercia, North Wales, Devon and Cornwall, and Lancashire.
We can now confirm that during the week of action:
• 98 arrests were made, and four County Lines shut down
• Warrants and other activity resulted in seizures of £27,000 cash, more than 2kg of Class A drugs, 175 cannabis plants, weapons and a high value bike
• Various suspected cuckooing addresses were visited, and 15 young and otherwise vulnerable people safeguarded. We have also been working at schools, scouts, with carers and other organisations across Merseyside to raise awareness and carry out Q&A sessions.
Notable arrests and charges included:
James Byott, 28, of Eric Street, Widnes was arrested and charged with the supply of cocaine, heroin and crack cocaine. He will next appear for trial at Liverpool Crown Court on Thursday 3 November. A 32-year-old woman was also arrested and released under investigation.
Rebecca Gordon, 30, of Compton Road, Everton and Lee Thomas, 50, of no fixed abode, were arrested and charged with the supply of cocaine, heroin, crack cocaine and cannabis. They will next appear for trial at Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday 1 November.
Michael Size, 24, of Bolden Close, Netherton was arrested and charged with supplying cannabis following a warrant. He will next appear at Liverpool Crown Court on Thursday 3 November. A 44-year-old man from Bootle was also arrested and released under investigation.
Working alongside West Mercia Police, three people were arrested and released on suspicion of drug supply and other offences. In Blackpool, Lancashire, a further three people were arrested on suspicion of drug supply in the area and remain under investigation. Project Medusa was also deployed into Deeside, North Wales leading to the arrest of two men on suspicion of drug supply.
Working with partners in the border force, Lancashire Ports Police, Merseyside Ports Police and other agencies, we attended Heysham Docks targeted suspected drug supply to the Isle of Man, in order to carry out stop checks and gather intelligence.
Items including phones and other paraphernalia were also seized during this activity, and will be subject to ongoing investigations.
Inspector Darren Wallace said: "Project Medusa and teams across Merseyside Police work on a daily basis to tackle the issue of County Lines drug dealing, and we share the results on a regular basis. This week of action is a snapshot of some of this work, and a way to keep the issue and the warning signs in people's minds, especially if they study, live or work with people who may be vulnerable to exploitation at the hands of organised criminals.
“Criminals cross borders to commit crime because they think it makes them too hard to detect, but thanks to strong partnership work with the likes of North Wales, West Mercia and Devon and Cornwall, we’re better than ever at sharing information and working alongside officers around the UK to carry out operations.
“As a force we are committed to working alongside partners and other forces to cut these County Lines, protect and safeguard vulnerable people. Some of the results this week will hopefully lead to positive results in court, and has already broken some of these chains, by seizing drugs and other items which can cause such harm in our communities and other areas of the country.
“We cannot stop this criminality alone, we need to continue our work with partners and we need the public’s help. It’s vital that everyone who cares for or knows young and vulnerable people understands the issue and knows the warning signs, and the more people share this advice the better.”
Read more here about the Eyes Open campaign, introduced by Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership: https://www.eyes-open.co.uk
You can also report any concerns to police on 999 if a crime is in progress, via 101, or our social media desk via Twitter @MerPolCC.
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