England

County lines drugs raids result in 24 arrests

Woman being arrested, drugs paraphernalia, officer bagging up drugs evidence Image copyright Northumbria Police
Image caption Raids were co-ordinated across England and Scotland

Dawn raids carried out by police investigating a suspected "county lines" drug dealing operation resulted in 24 arrests.

Properties in Newcastle, Byker and Wallsend were visited and raids also carried out in Stevenage, Norwich, Glasgow and London.

Northumbria Police said it was the first time it had taken part in a "county lines" co-ordinated operation.

A spokesman said the problem was "not prominent" in the area.

"A large part of this operation is about identifying and safeguarding vulnerable people," Assistant Chief Constable David Felton said.

Co-ordination needed

"County lines" drugs plots typically involve gangs in one area dealing and storing drugs in another, often rural or smaller area, and forcing vulnerable people, children and addicts to help.

Wednesday's raids involved Northumbria Police, the Metropolitan Police, Police Scotland, the North East Regional Special Operations Unit (NERSOU) and North Tyneside Council.

The 18 men and six women were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply class A drugs.

Officers said they seized drugs, mixing agents, drugs paraphernalia, mobile phones and documentation.

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