Seven arrests in operation to target county lines Widnes gangs Date published: 8th April 2019 1.16pm

A week-long operation into county lines gangs in Widnes saw seven arrests made and one vulnerable adult safeguarded.


Officers working in partnership with Halton Housing arrested people for a range of offences including drug dealing and shoplifting while also recovering heroin, crack cocaine, cannabis and £450 in cash.


A vulnerable man was identified as being exploited by others who had used his property to take drugs.


A county line is operated by an organised crime group (OCG) who 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.


Sergeant Rob Anderson, of Widnes Local Policing Unit, said: “Keeping people and our community safe from organised crime is our priority in Widnes. Last week we worked really hard to disrupt those who deal drugs in our community while also protecting those exploited by their activity.


“This type of criminality often means vulnerable adults and children are targeted by criminals to deliver and deal drugs on their behalf after being criminally exploited, coerced and manipulated.


“Breaking this cycle is very difficult and while we work with our partners it is important the public support us by knowing how to spot signs of criminal exploitation.


“We listen to the public when they provide us with information and I would encourage the local community to always keep an eye out and if you feel something isn’t right report it to us on 101.”