45 charged in major operation to close down ‘County Lines’ organised drugs networks

Force wide

8 Jun 2021

Throughout April and May officers from Humberside Police’s Organised Crime Unit have carried out the arrest phase of a huge operation to close down four ‘County Lines’ drugs gangs supplying Class A and B drugs to Hull.

During 19 days of action across the two months, a total of 68 people were arrested (49 men, 16 women and three youths). 

Of those arrested, 45 have been charged with offences relating to the possession and supply of drugs.  We are continuing our investigations into the other people arrested and are confident more charges will follow.

Our operation spanned the country with a total of 30 warrants being served not only in Hull but in Bradford and London too.  Officers from our own Operation Galaxy and teams from regional Forces worked closely together to coordinate the warrants, hitting hard those at the centre of the supply of drugs in Hull.

These warrants recovered huge amounts of drugs, including; heroin, crack cocaine, spice, Valium and cannabis.

Speaking about the operation, Detective Chief Inspector Simon Vickers said, “This has been a vast operation, taking months in the planning and gathering of intelligence and information.

“Our teams have, as a direct result of this operation, managed to dismantle four ‘county lines’, and already secured guilty pleas from six men who were at the head of these crime groups and facilitated the supply of Class A drugs.

“Each of these ‘county lines’ from Liverpool, London and two from Bradford, were investigated by the Organised Crime Team at Clough Road police station.

“The operation was also identified elements of these gangs that had the propensity to use violence in order to expand their drug enterprises. This preventative approach resulted in weapons such as machetes and knives been taken off the streets negating there use.

“Importantly the operation also opened windows of opportunity for us together with the wider Community Safety Partnership to identify and safeguard vulnerable members of the community targeted by these gangs.  

“I want to commend the Organised Crime Team for coordinating what was a very successful operation. I would also like to thank Tracy Harsley for her efforts through the Community Safety Partnership, the Regional Organised Crime Unit, and the British Transport Police. Finally I would like to express gratitude to the Local Armed Forces and the National County Lines Co-Ordination Centre for their support,

This has been a real team effort and working together we have contributed to making Hull a safer place to live.”

Detective Inspector Mark Catney from the Yorkshire and the Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit, said “Criminals are always changing their method of operation and will often move from location to location.

“They do not respect traditional borders and so it is vital that police forces work together to have the greatest possible impact.

“I am delighted our partnership work with Humberside Police, the National Crime Agency and the other forces in the Region including the British Transport Police to make such a difference to local communities.”

Our operation also tied in with the National County Lines Intensification Week, where in the Humberside Police area a further 79 people were arrested and a large quantity of drugs were seized, along with £1,300 worth of cash. 

We were also able to identify five properties where it is believed the vulnerable occupiers were being ‘cuckooed’.  We visited the premises and have safeguarded those involved.

Over 150 shops, hotels and post offices and taxi companies were visited and given literature around ‘County Lines’ activity to heighten awareness and encourage reporting.

Our ongoing work within schools continued, with 31 schools engaged with, prominently showing Alfie’s Story to help discussion and promoting of safeguarding work within the community.

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Vickers continued, “Vulnerable people, often teenagers and sometimes children, are exploited into becoming involved in organised criminality, and communities can become overwhelmed with illicit substances and anti-social behaviour that often comes with drug use and dealing.

“The community impact this type of offending has is the reason we will continue to do everything we can to disrupt these criminal networks, removing them, and the drugs they supply and distribute, from our streets.

“I would like to thank members of the public who have provided us with information so far and would appeal for anyone who believes they have any information that may be able to assist with our action against drugs to contact us on 101.

“Alternatively you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you don’t feel comfortable speaking to police and would prefer to stay anonymous.”

To find out more about County Lines and the signs to spot that someone may be involved, click here