Properties in Chester, Manchester and Wrexham were targeted by police during raids last night (Wednesday 30 January) as part of an operation to target those believed to be involved in county lines criminal activity.
The strike is part of a significant local policing investigation to crackdown on the supply of controlled drugs. Suspects were woken by officers from Chester and Ellesmere Port Local Policing Unit’s with warrants executed at seven properties.
Officers arrested four men in Chester all aged 26, 28, 31 and 47. All have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply controlled drugs and are currently in police custody waiting to be questioned by detectives.
As part of the strike – codenamed Operation Backyard – a restaurant on Brook Street in Chester has been closed as part of the investigation and two vehicles were searched outside. A disused shop in Sale, Manchester as well as a shop on Weaver Street in Chester were also searched by police along with a vehicle on Lindon Grove, Chester.
Officers seized approximately £30,000 in cash, a large quantity of cocaine, cannabis and MDMA drugs as well as three vehicles.
Detective Sergeant Danielle Knox, of Chester Local Policing Unit, said: “Last night’s operation was a huge success following a complex investigation to target those intent on preying on the most vulnerable people in our community.
“The results of our investigation show we are relentless in pursuing those involved in county lines criminal activity and that it is our utmost priority to protect Chester and the wider community.
“I hope this brings reassurance to residents that we will act on any information that is given to us and that it sends a clear message to criminals that Chester is a difficult place to operate.”
A county line is operated by an organised crime group (OCG) who often use a mobile phone, known as a ‘line’ or a ‘graft’ to extend their criminal activity business into new locations – usually from a city into rural areas.
DS Knox added: “With the public’s support we can break this criminal activity and continue to make Chester a safer place.
“I would encourage the public to keep an eye out if you feel something isn’t right. If you do not want to speak to a police officer then you can pass information anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
Local officers will be in the area to provide reassurance to the community.