"County Lines" Operations In Herts Disrupted

21 November 2018, 11:52 | Updated: 21 November 2018, 11:59

Police raid

Officers have carried out a number of warrants at addresses across Stevenage, Letchworth and London this morning.

The action was part of on-going work led by Op Mantis to tackle County Lines gangs.

Seven people have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

They remain in police custody at this time.

Police have carried out warrants at six addresses in Stevenage, Letchworth and London as part of the on-going battle against County Lines gangs.

Officers from the dedicated Op Mantis team, who were supported by officers from Operation Scorpion and Safer Neighbourhood Teams entered the properties at around 6.30am today under Section 8 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE).

The warrants were carried out at the following addresses:

* High Avenue, Letchworth
* Wildwood La, Lines Rd and Hawkes La in Stevenage
* Two addresses in Hackney

Officers arrested seven people on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. They are:

* A 19 year-old woman from East Herts
* An 18 year old man, a 17 year old boy and a 15 year old boy, all from Stevenage
* A 23 year old man, a 27 year old man and a 29 year old man, all from London.

They all remain in police custody at this time.

Detective Sergeant Jon Leak, who leads Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Op Mantis team, said:

"We are constantly working to tackle those who are involved in County Lines gangs and their associated drug dealing and criminality.

These gang members do not hesitate to use violence and exploit the vulnerable, often using children to run drugs and taking over the homes of society’s most vulnerable people - known as ‘cuckooing’ - to use it as a base to run their drug dealing operations from.

Although Hertfordshire does not have a major problem with County Lines, it is a growing national issue that we are determined to tackle through early disruption.”

Detective Inspector Graeme Walsingham from the Stevenage Local Crime Unit said:

“We are doing everything we can to drive drug related crime out of Stevenage. Drug dealing and associated criminality can have a huge detrimental effect on those living nearby. We will continue to carry out warrants at properties where intelligence suggests drugs activity is suspected.

The public can assist us by reporting any behaviour that seems to be suspicious, as soon as possible. We are constantly gathering intelligence on drug activity in the town and your information can help us take action to protect the vulnerable and disrupt and arrest those who are supplying drugs in Stevenage.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Hertfordshire Constabulary via the non-emergency number 101 or report information online at www.herts.police.uk/report.

Alternatively, you can contact the independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their Anonymous Online Form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. No personal details are taken, information cannot be traced or recorded and you will never need to go to court.

Help and support for those with drug addiction:

If someone you know has a drug problem, they can get help by contacting Frank on 0800 77 66 00 or visiting www.talktofrank.com