Have you heard of ‘County Lines’?
Teenagers Are Being Exploited By County Lines Drugs Gangs In Lancashire
It’s been in the national news lately as it’s affecting families and communities up and down the country. ‘County lines’ is when urban gangs use children and vulnerable adults to expand their illegal drugs businesses into other towns.
In Lancashire we see pockets of county lines gangs coming in from Manchester, Merseyside, London, and West Yorkshire. Lancashire Police are working proactively to dismantle these gangs from the top and protect the young and the vulnerable.
You might know someone who needs your help.They might be a family member, neighbour, or someone else in your community.
Gangs recruit and force vulnerable adults and children to work as couriers, transporting drugs and cash for them. They often set up a base in towns in other counties, taking over the home of a vulnerable person and sending runners to stay there. These are ways gangs distance themselves from criminal activity so that their victims carry the risk.
Look out for children and teens who are:
- Going missing from home/school without explanation
- Mixing with new friends their parents don’t know
- Using more than one mobile phone
- Appearing nervous, scared, evasive, and/or secretive
- Suffering injuries they can’t explain
- Holding tickets for train or coach travel.
Look out for vulnerable adults who:
- Have withdrawn from family, the community or social services support
- Have lots of different visitors at unusual hours
- Are in a relationship with someone controlling
- Have their curtains or blinds closed most of the time
- Have more anti-social behaviour close to their home.
Report any concerns anonymously to Crimestoppers. It can be hard to report concerns about someone as they may have committed offences. Lancashire Police are working with Crimestoppers to make it easier.
Whether you phone them on 0800 555 111 or report your concerns online Crimestoppers won’t pass on who you are, or give any information that might suggest who you could be. They simply receive the information they need to stop these gangs and protect vulnerable people.