Drugs intercepted and eight arrested in three-day operation tackling county lines – Lancashire
Main article content
Large quantities of heroin, crack cocaine and cannabis were seized and eight people were arrested in three days of joint action tackling drug supply in Lancashire.
The British Transport Police (BTP) County Lines Taskforce teamed up with Lancashire Police from 12–14 July, conducting operations across the county’s rail network.
Officers from both forces deployed in plain clothes and uniform alongside drugs dogs on trains and at key stations, including Preston, Lancaster, Blackpool and Morecambe.
In addition to the arrests, officers made four safeguarding interventions.
Detective Inspector Brian Buddo, of BTP’s County Lines Taskforce, said: “These operations are a fantastic example of joint working with our policing colleagues to pursue offenders.
“Our teams successfully intercepted harmful drugs before they reached our communities and made vital interventions to safeguard vulnerable people who may be at risk of exploitation.
“We carry out intelligence-led operations like these across the UK rail network every day to clampdown on county lines activity wherever it occurs. If you use the railway to move drugs between locations, we will catch you and put you before the courts.”
Inspector Kathryn Riley of Lancashire Police’s West Intelligence Unit said: “County Lines is an increasingly significant threat, both nationally and locally within Lancashire, and operations such as these work well to disrupt the movement of drugs into our communities.
“It was hugely beneficial to work alongside our policing colleagues at BTP - this is just one of the operations that we conduct to rid Lancashire of drugs and the dangers they carry.
“I am particularly pleased with a number of safeguarding interventions that occurred where vulnerable children were identified and offered support. Safeguarding of vulnerable persons involved in County lines was the main objective of the operation.”
BTP’s County Lines Taskforce was setup in December 2019 after receiving funding from the Home Office.
It was created to disrupt and apprehend criminals using the railway to move drugs across England, Scotland and Wales and safeguard the vulnerable children and adults exploited in this activity.
To date the Taskforce has arrested 1,800 people, seized 1,200 lots of drugs and £1m in cash and removed 450 dangerous weapons from the railway.
It has also referred 100 vulnerable people into the National Referral Mechanism for Safeguarding and secured 20 charges under the Modern Slavery Act (2015).