Nine charged after County Lines drugs raids in Northumberland, Liverpool and Scotland

Nine suspects have been charged after a 10-month police operation to tackle a suspected County Lines drugs network in the region.

Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 5:41 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 5:43 pm

Four defendants from Northumberland, three from Liverpool and two from Scotland are all due to face court soon, with officers also arresting 19 other people pending further inquiries and cautioning seven more.

Northumbria Police say large quantities of drugs have been taken off the streets as part of the force’s ongoing Operational Sentinel with £40,000 worth of cocaine seized from one address.

County Lines is where criminal networks expand their operations from urban areas to more rural locations and smaller towns.

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Some of the drugs seized as part of the 10-month Northumbria Police inquiry.

Drug dealers will typically use a single phone line to facilitate the supply of Class A drugs and often resort to violence and intimidation of vulnerable people to protect the line.

Four men from Berwick aged between 35 and 51 are among those to be charged as part of the multi-force raids.

Two are accused of conspiracy to supply crack cocaine, one is suspected of allowing his premises to be used in the supply of crack cocaine and the fourth is charged with encouraging or assisting crime.

Three Liverpool men aged between 18 and 25 have been charged with conspiracy to supply crack cocaine.

Merseyside Police were involved in the Northumbria Police-led operation.

Two people aged 29 and 45 and from Eyemouth, just across the Scottish border from Berwick, are also charged with encouraging or assisting crime.

All nine will appear in court at a later date with two of the Liverpool defendants remanded in custody.

Northumbria Police’s Superintendent Jonathan Bensley, one of the officers leading the operation, said “we will do everything we can to protect the communities we are proud to serve” and added: “This operation has shown we are prepared to use every resource out our disposal to tackle suspected County Lines criminality in our area.”

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness said the raids reflected the force’s “commitment to protecting the vulnerable and targeting those who are suspected of exploiting them”.

She continued: “If you have concerns about someone you know being exploited, please let our police know so they can look into it and keep Northumbria safe."

Contact the force on 101 or at www.northumbria.police.uk

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