Kent Police made 26 arrests and secured 30 charges as part of a nationwide campaign to tackle county lines activity.

County Lines Intensification Week ran from Monday 3 October to Sunday 9 October 2022 with focussed, coordinated action against drug dealing networks and work to safeguard victims.

Warrants carried out around Kent led to more than £11,000 in suspected criminal cash, 24 weapons and heroin, cocaine and cannabis being seized.

Working together

A total of 48 welfare visits were made to vulnerable people who it is feared may be targeted by county lines gangs, who often use the ‘cuckooing’ of homes to set up bases in areas.

Officers also worked with British Transport Police at railway stations, leading to the arrest of a 17-year-old boy with a knife in Chatham.

As well as holding meetings with partner agencies to ensure a joint response to tackling county lines, officers also visited hotels around the county so that staff know what to look out for and can report suspicious activity.

Incidents included:

• A warrant carried out in Herne Bay led to the seizure of around £13,000-worth of crack cocaine and around £4,500 in cash. Two men have been charged with possession of heroin and crack cocaine with intent to supply and were remanded in custody at court.

• Five suspects, aged between 16 and 21, were arrested in warrants in GravesendNorthfleet and Rochester, and cannabis, various potential weapons, phones and cash were seized. The five have been released pending further investigation.

• Two men were arrested in Edgware, North-West London, as part of an investigation into alleged drug dealing in CanterburyA man has since been charged with being concerned in the supply of cocaine and heroin. A second man remains under investigation.

• During work in the Herne Bay area, officers stopped a car linked to a county drug line and arrested three occupants. Cannabis, a BB gun and around £1,700 in cash were seized. A man from London, has since appeared before magistrates charged with being concerned in the supply of heroin and cocaine. Two others have been released under investigation.

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Taking action

Detective Superintendent Lopa McDermott, of Kent Police’s County Lines and Gangs Team, said: ‘The arrests and charges secured during County Lines Intensification Week will significantly set back the work of the groups who try to bring Class A drugs into Kent. We believe five lines have now been dismantled with two others significantly disrupted.

‘I would like to praise all of the officers whose painstaking hard work in researching and tracking these criminals has helped us bring so many before the courts.

‘But the week’s activity not only gives us the opportunity to make arrests and search properties, just as important is the work raising awareness of the issue with partners and working with victims in the community.

‘I urge anyone who believes drug dealing is taking place in their area to report it through the Kent Police website, or call 999 if a crime is taking place.’

For more details on county lines networks and how you can help us tackle them, click here.

By Ed

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