Two arrests in Stevenage as part of county lines crackdown
Two men have been arrested in Stevenage on suspicion of drugs offences during a national week of action agasinst county lines gang activity.
A 22-year-old and a 33-year-old, both of no fixed address, were stopped in a BMW in the town and arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs on May 13.
These were two of seven arrests made in Herts during the national week of action, which ran from May 13 to 17.
The week was led by the new National County Lines Co-ordination Centre, and aimed to disrupt and arrest those involved in county lines - when criminals from major cities expand their network into more rural communities.
The Operation Mantis team executed warrants and conducted other activity targeting individuals that have links to organised crime and drug supply networks.
The activities were supported by local policing teams, Scorpion units and officers from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit.
On May 13, officers arrested a 21-year-old man of no fixed address and a 17-year-old boy from Hemel Hempstead, on suspicion of possession with intent to supply class A drugs.
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They were arrested at an address in Hemel Hempstead, which was the home of a vulnerable adult. It is believed that the address was being used by gang members for drug dealing purposes, which is commonly known as 'cuckooing'.
On Monday, a 37-year-old man from Peterborough was stopped in a vehicle and was arrested for possession with intent to supply class A drugs.
On the same day officers received intelligence about another incident of cuckooing at an address in Hertford, where they arrested a 21-year-old man and a 19-year-old man, both from London, on suspicion of possession with intent to supply class A drugs and assaulting the occupant of the address.
Detective Chief Inspector Tracy Pemberton from the Operation Mantis team said: "Following on from our last week of action in January, we are working with our colleagues at local, regional and national level to identify and arrest those involved in gang and drug-related crime.
"These criminals set up their operations in the homes of vulnerable people and bring violence, drugs and crime to local communities. Young and vulnerable people are often the ones who suffer the most, being drawn into criminal activities, drugs and even sexual exploitation.
"We have made a significant impact on the county lines networks operating in Hertfordshire over the last year, significantly disrupting gang activities and seizing large quantities of drugs and cash during these operations.
"We continue to work with partners to raise awareness of county lines among young people, parents, teachers and other members of the community to help protect the vulnerable and prevent them from being pulled into this kind of activity."
If you suspect that a property in your area is being used for criminal activity or you believe that someone you know is being exploited or coerced into crime, contact police via the non-emergency number 101 or report information online at www.herts.police.uk/report.
If you are part of a gang or believe you are being coerced or exploited by criminal gang members you can get help and advice at www.fearless.org, which provides non-judgemental advice and allows you to give information anonymously.