County Lines intensification week

Alert message sent 27/05/2021 14:23:00

Information sent on behalf of Wiltshire Police

Officers from the Fortitude Team and Neighbourhood Policing Teams have been taking part in a national crackdown on drugs gangs.

Here in the county we arrested seven males as part of the latest County Lines intensification week which took place between Monday 17 May and Sunday 23 May.

The arrests were as follows:
• 24-year-old London man arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply Class B drugs
• 32-year-old Lyneham man arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply Class B and drug driving
• 16-year-old Swindon boy arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of Class B drugs
• 20-year-old Swindon man arrested on suspicion of drug driving

All four were released under investigation.

Other results include:
• 36 cuckooed addresses visited
• 35 vulnerable people were engaged for safeguarding purposes

During the week, officers, including some from the Swindon Neighbourhood Policing Teams, participated in an operation in the County Road area of Swindon, focusing on vehicles used by County Lines.

During the operation, the officers involved dealt with the following:
• 5 x strip searches of individuals stopped in a vehicle linked to County Lines
• 1 x seizure of cannabis.
• 1 x arrest for drug driving
• 1 x vehicle seized due to no insurance

County Lines is a drugs distribution model using mobile phones where drugs are exported from major cities and imported into other areas, often using vulnerable adults and children.

Detective Inspector Paul Franklin, one of the leads in the Fortitude Team said: "Intensification weeks like this allow us to dedicate a burst of activity and resources, highlighting to the public our determination to rid our county of this crime - a crime which affects everyone in every community.
“Tackling County Lines is not only about stopping the drugs gangs but, also, protecting those at risk of being exploited by these gangs.
"It's also about education. We, with the support of partners, help educate children about the stark, cold reality of County Lines as well as giving parents, carers and guardians information to help them spot the signs. Officers have been visiting schools across the county to give talks to children and letters to parents as part of this week.
"It is vital that everyone looks out for the signs of exploitation. This may be a child with unexplained cash, new expensive clothing or trainers; perhaps they went missing and were in possession of rail tickets or taxi receipts or maybe there has been a change in behaviour and new people suddenly appearing at a house or flat.
"If you are concerned then please contact us on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Following the week-long operation three men were charged:
• Joseph Minns (18), Kennedy Drive, Eldene, Swindon - charged with possession with intent to supply Class B drugs. He has been released on unconditional bail
• Christopher Simpkins (42), Raleigh Avenue, Walcot, Swindon – charged with breaching a closure order. He has been released on unconditional bail
• Devon bailey (58), no-fixed address – charged with breaching a closure order. He has been released on unconditional bail
Message sent by
Mark Jones (Police, Media Officer, Wiltshire)

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