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Twenty five arrested as part of police county lines busts

Crime / Fri 10th Mar 2023 at 07:32am

TWENTY-five people were arrested as part of a week-long intensification operation tackling county lines drug networks. 

Specialist officers from our Serious Violence Unit also seized £5,000 in cash and Class A drugs. 

The arrests were made in Basildon, Chelmsford, Brentwood, Harlow, Manchester and London and number of significant county lines have been disrupted. 

Twenty-one people have been charged and our investigations continue into those who were either released on bail or released under investigation.

County Lines Intensification Week took place across the country between 27 February and 5 March. 

In total, officers from the Serious Violence Unit seized:

-£600 of cocaine 

-£670 of heroin

-67 deal wraps of heroin

-60 deal wraps of cocaine 

-high value clothing valued at £2,000

We also located a number of weapons such as hammers, knuckle dusters and knives. 

However, enforcement is just one element of the work of the Serious Violence Unit. 

Preventing vulnerable people from becoming involved in drugs and the crimes associated with drugs is a force wide priority and it is one which we do not tackle alone.

We work closely with partners such as local authorities and the Essex Violence and Vulnerability Unit to ensure those people who may appear as perpetrators, but are in fact victims in their own right, are safeguarded and steered away from crime and drugs. 

As part of our work throughout County Lines Intensification Week, we also safeguarded 21 people, which means they have been lifted out of gang involvement and offered expert help in how to continue to disassociate themselves from that lifestyle. 

Detective Chief Inspector Neal Miller, of the Essex Police Serious Violence Unit, said: “Although our work did intensify during the week, the role our teams perform is very much a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week one.

“The work our teams put into identifying County Lines, investigating them, establishing who is behind them and then building cases against those involved should not be underestimated.

“But our teams are specialists in their fields. They are experts in case building, which means our suspects will not know that an overwhelming case is quietly being built against them so they can be put before the courts.

“These results clearly show the work we are carrying out is working but we are under no illusions that some groups of people do believe they are above the law, and they do think they can sell their product in Essex. But our message has been consistently clear; drugs and drug dealers are not welcome in our county.

“The people who do this cause significant harm to our communities and we make no apology for pursuing them relentlessly.” 

DCI Miller added: “Although the public might be more used to seeing the enforcement side of our work, there is a lot more to the Serious Violence Unit than that.

“We take a whole systems approach to tackling drug supply in Essex – so that means working really closely with local authorities and the Essex Violence and Vulnerability Unit to establish where we can prevent people becoming involved in gang life and crime.

“Where that is happening, we will treat people as victims and always seek to help them and their support network.

“Of course, there are times when criminal offences are clear, and we have no option but to take enforcement action and put people through the courts.

“Drug supply, and the serious violence which very sadly goes alongside it, cause distinct harm within our communities and we’re determined to tackle that whether that’s through offering help to people who need it – or making sure people are taken off the streets.”

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