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County lines clampdown: Hampshire police arrest 35 and seize £28,000 in drugs

Police have arrested 35 people and seized £28,000 worth of drugs in a crackdown on “county lines” trafficking in Hampshire.  

The weeklong operation was organised by the National Crime Agency and involved police forces across the country. 

It involved stop searches and using drug dogs at Isle of Wight terminals to check people going to and from the island. 

Police recovered over £12,000 in cash. 

Superintendent Matthew Reeves said: “County Lines isn’t isolated to large UK cities, this is a real issue which is affecting Hampshire along with other areas in the country. 

“It’s not only the obviously vulnerable who are groomed for county lines. Young people from all backgrounds have been groomed for transporting and dealing drugs”. 

County lines drug trafficking is when criminal gangs from big cities such as London and Manchester move their drugs to smaller towns. Expanding the area of their activities in order to make money.  

Drug traffickers often use a single phone line to run the operation and can use young people as mules to move the drugs across the country. 

According to the National Crime Agency the number of lines has more than doubled since 2017 to around 2,000, with the bulk of vulnerable people involved being 15-17 year old children.

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