A total of 27 people were arrested and drugs, cash and weapons seized in a major crackdown on county lines drugs gangs

Police say 14 of the arrests were closely associated with alleged ‘county lines’ networks operating within Dorset with known links from London in the operation.

Approximately 26 safeguarding checks were also conducted at known vulnerable addresses in Dorset linked to cuckooing, identified through local neighbourhood policing teams.

A 16-year-old girl from Dorset was safeguarded as a result of partnership working alongside British Transport Police and South Wales Police. The girl was safely returned to her Dorset address. One male was arrested for suspected trafficking offences as a result.

Deputy Director of Intelligence, Chief Inspector Andrew Dilworth said: “Safeguarding vulnerable people is one of our biggest priorities as an organisation.

"Alleged county lines gangs see rural areas as an easy target, thinking it is easier for them to move in to those areas and not be noticed. This week of coordinated law enforcement activity in Dorset was an intensification of our existing work to tackle suspected drug-related crime.

“While I’m extremely pleased with the work carried out this week, our efforts to stop county lines are ongoing.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: “County lines is a growing problem, and one the police simply cannot tackle on their own. We need the support of everyone who cares about our communities, and that’s why we’re asking members of the public to be our eyes and ears and to contact the police if they see anything that doesn’t look right.

“The information they provide could help bring alleged gang members to justice and turn around the lives of those young people they are suspected to have coerced into working for them.”

County lines is the name given to suspected urban drug dealers expanding their activities into smaller towns and rural areas, using people, including teenagers from other parts of the country, to come to Dorset and supply drugs. They will often target vulnerable people and move into their address against their will.

If you notice someone is showing signs of county lines involvement please report your suspicions to the police online at dorset.police.uk/do-it-online, or by calling 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Further information on county lines can be found on our website: https://www.dorset.police.uk/help-advice-crime-prevention/safety-in-your-community/county-lines/

The week resulted in the following:

* £4,100 of Class A drugs seized – this figure will increase as further analysis is conducted

* £1,000 worth of cannabis seized

* Arrests - 27

* Weapons - three seized

* Cash seized so far is £3,500 – further cash is waiting to be counted

* One male arrested for trafficking

* 14 of the arrests were closely associated with “county lines” networks operating within the county with links to Dorset from London

* 26 Safe and well checks conducted at known vulnerable addresses in Dorset linked to Cuckooing addresses from NPT