Sussex Police seize £10,000 of drugs and arrest 29 people in county lines crackdown

A staggering £10,000 of Class A drugs is off the street and 29 people have been arrested across Sussex in just one week.

Monday, 20th May 2019, 5:57 pm
Updated Monday, 20th May 2019, 6:57 pm
Police arrested 29 people during the drug dealing crackdown. Stock image: Derek Pelling

Police carried out a week-long crack down on 'county lines' drug dealers, with officers across the county working together.

Officers also visited the homes of many vulnerable people who they fear could be 'cuckooed' by violent drug dealers.

Children as young as 14 have been seen selling drugs on our streets, under orders from violent drug dealers.

Police arrested 29 people during the drug dealing crackdown. Stock image: Derek Pelling

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County lines drug dealing - how violent crime gangs are exploiting children in Sussex

What is county lines drug dealing?

County lines is a tactic used by gangs and organised crime groups from big cities like London to send drugs out to smaller towns.

Children and vulnerable adults are often intimidated into carrying out illegal activity on their behalf, under threat of extreme violence.

Officers raided a Crawley home on Thursday

Drug users in Sussex towns call a dedicated drugs ‘deal line’, usually located somewhere in London, and then drugs runners are dispatched to their location.

For more information - and what to look out for in your community - read our explainer story about county lines.

Sussex Police in week-long crackdown

During the week starting on May 13, officers carried out 12 warrants, 29 arrests, made more than £10,000 worth of class A drug seizures as well as 36 mobile phones.

Officers also carried out safeguarding action to support 26 vulnerable people and visited 43 addresses where people were at risk of being 'cuckooed' to check on their safety, police said.

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Rayland said: "We are continuing to disrupt dealers who try to deal dangerous drugs across our communities and are targeting those who use children to sell drugs or those who buy drugs from children; we will investigate and prosecute you.

"Our work will continue relentlessly, targeting those who would bring harm to local people, including often the most vulnerable and this is the result of just one week's activity.

"Local crime is often a direct result of major drug distribution via county lines and by working together with partners to shed a light on this often hidden crime. We are sending a clear message to drug dealers that they cannot expect to go undetected in Sussex."

Video shows dramatic drugs raid on Sussex home

Dramatic footage taken last week shows police raiding a house in Crawley on a drugs warrant.

Two mobile phones were recovered from the property, along with a wrap of what is believed to be a Class A drug.

A 20-year-old man from Crawley was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply a controlled drug of Class A, being concerned in the supply of a Class A drug and breaching a criminal behaviour order.

Police working with other agencies to safeguard the vulnerable

The areas in Sussex most effected by the drug trade from London are the larger coastal towns, with established drugs markets that can be exploited locally, including Hastings, Eastbourne, Worthing, Bognor, and Brighton, but also towns such as Crawley.

DCI Rayland continued: "We use the range of legal powers to tackle this problem, ranging from the Misuse of Drugs Act to Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking legislation and technological advances through the use of Drug Dealing Telephone Restriction Orders (DDTRO).

"We also work closely with other agencies to support those vulnerable adults and children who are exploited by county line gangs. This includes regular visits to those adults at risk of cuckooing and raising awareness with those agencies engaged with children to ensure that information is shared effectively to prevent young people being drawn in to this criminality."

To report information about county lines, contact police on 101 or report online. In an emergency always call 999.

Information can also be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers. Call 0800 555 111 or visit crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information.