Two arrests in Stevenage police operation to disrupt county lines drug dealing

Police stop vehicles on the A602 near Hooks Cross. Picture: Herts police.

Police stop vehicles on the A602 near Hooks Cross. Picture: Herts police. - Credit: Archant

Two arrests have been made and nine vehicles seized in a police operation targeting criminals travelling in and out of Stevenage.

Police officers stationed themselves for a seven-hour operation at two sites – one in Broadwater and one on the A602 near to Hooks Cross – last Tuesday.

ANPR – automatic number plate recognition – was used to identify any vehicles which may be of interest or had already come to the attention of the police.

More than 40 vehicles were stopped and checked by road policing officers and representatives from the DVLA.

Two people were arrested – one for failing to appear at court and one for failing to stop for police, dangerous driving, not having a driving licence or insurance and theft of a motor vehicle.

Nine vehicles were seized, eight traffic offence reports issued and seven stop searches conducted.

Detective Inspector for Stevenage, Graeme Walsingham, said: “We have seen a rise in the number of criminals being linked to Stevenage crimes who are not from the area.

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“We know through our ongoing work into ‘county lines’ that people are travelling into the town to deal drugs and this in turn leads to an increase in acquisitive crime such as burglary, car crime and shoplifting.”

County lines is the name given to describe drug dealing which involves criminal networks from urban areas expanding their activities into smaller towns and rural areas.

It often involves the exploitation of children, as gangs use young people and those with mental health or addiction problems to transport drugs and money.

DI Walsingham said: “I am very pleased with the results of this operation.

“Stevenage must not be an easy target and this is just part of our ongoing work to detect, disrupt and deter cross-border criminals who use the road networks to carry out their offending and providing.

“I also want to reassure residents and those who visit the town that we are committed to keeping Stevenage a safe place to live and work.”

If you have any information about criminal activity involving county lines, call Herts police on non-emergency number 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.