Three held as police target 'county lines' gang in Manchester

image source, GMP
image captionPolice executing a warrant as part of Operation Fosbury

Three men have been arrested in dawn raids tackling a "county lines" drug gang suspected of exploiting vulnerable children.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) executed search warrants at six addresses in the Beswick area shortly after 06:00 GMT on Friday.

The men, two aged 18 and one aged 22, were arrested on suspicion of engaging in human trafficking for the purpose of criminal exploitation, police said.

They remain in custody for questioning.

The men were also arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

'Vulnerable people exploited'

The arrests were made as part of Operation Fosbury, an ongoing investigation into the exploitation of vulnerable adults and children.

Det Insp Andy Buckthorpe said: "This particular investigation focuses on helping vulnerable people who we believe have been exploited and forced to deal drugs in other areas of the UK in what is widely known as 'County Lines' offending.

"As a result of the investigation, we have been able to identify a number of vulnerable people within the Manchester area who have been exploited in the most horrendous way by organised criminals, and they will now receive bespoke multi-agency support."

County lines is the name given to urban drug dealers expanding their activities into smaller towns and rural areas, primarily to supply crack cocaine and heroin to addicts in those locations.

According to the National Crime Agency there are currently more than 1,500 lines in operation in the UK.

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