Nearly 600 suspected members of county lines drugs gangs have been arrested across the UK in the past week, the National Crime Agency has said.
The NCA estimates there are about 2,000 city-based gangs exploiting young people to sell drugs in smaller towns. It says tackling the gangs is a “national law enforcement priority”.
In the operation between 13 and 20 May:
500 men and 86 women were arrested in raids in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cheshire, Bedfordshire and other areas,519 vulnerable adults and 364 children in need of support were helped, 30 people were identified as potential victims of slavery or human trafficking.
Four guns were seized, as well as swords, machetes, an axe, knives, samurai swords, and a crossbow. Drugs including cocaine with a street value of £176,780, crack worth £36,550 and £17,950 of heroin were recovered.