Arrests and drugs seized in Southampton as part of national week of action to tackle county lines drug supply
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Several arrests have been made and drugs worth tens of thousands of pounds seized in Southampton as officers supported a national week of action to tackle county lines networks.
The National County Lines Intensification Week ran between Monday, March 7 and Sunday, March 13, and saw officers from Southampton’s High Harm and Neighbourhood Policing Teams join forces to disrupt the supply of Class A drugs in our city.
We arrested eight people, executed a warrant and seized tens of thousands of pounds of Class A drugs as part of our activity.
What are county lines?
County lines drug dealing is a crime which impacts communities and involves the exploitation of vulnerable people including children.
Criminal gangs set up a drug dealing operation in a place outside their usual operating area, with deals taking place away from larger cities such as London and Liverpool, and instead being carried out in smaller cities and towns like we have in Hampshire.
This can have a huge impact on the communities living in these areas, and brings with it serious criminal behaviour.
We are doing more than ever before to understand the methods used by criminals involved in county lines and the importance of safeguarding vulnerable people.
What did we do?
Throughout the intensification week, officers in Southampton conducted patrols in known drug dealing hotspots to disrupt supply.
The patrol activity throughout the week was made up of a mixture of high visibility and plain clothes patrols, as well as marked and unmarked vehicle patrols.
On Wednesday, Southampton Central’s Neighbourhood Policing Team were also joined by two police horses and their riders from the unit we share with Thames Valley Police who provided high visibility for our patrols in the city parks and Southampton High Street.
We also conducted checks at several addresses believed to be involved in drugs supply and made sure safeguarding was in place for vulnerable individuals who may be being exploited by drug gangs.
Highlights from the week
At 8.15am on Friday (11 March), officers from Southampton’s High Harm Team executed a warrant at an address in Woolston. Officers seized suspected Class A drugs worth tens of thousands of pounds and arrested a man. Mohammed Ali Artan, 36, from Centenary Plaza, was charged with possession with intent to supply a controlled Class A drug – cocaine and remanded to appear at Southampton Magistrates’ Court yesterday (14 March). He was further remanded to appear at Southampton Crown Court on 15 April. (44220097657)
At 10.14am on Monday (7 March), officers stopped a man who was getting into a car in Earls Road. The vehicle was searched and 75 wraps of suspected Class A drugs were found inside. These have been seized along with around £480 in cash and two mobile phones. A 47-year-old Southampton man was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply a Class A drug. He was released under investigation while enquiries continue. A search was also carried out on a property in Osborne Road South and a further £240 was seized among other items. (44220091612)
Chief Inspector Ricky Dhanda, deputy district commander for Southampton and force tactical lead for county lines, said: “Drug dealers have no place in our city. Not only do they bring people from other parts of the country to commit crime, they encourage a wide range of other types of crime and antisocial behaviour, all of which harm our community.
“County lines networks go hand in hand with serious violence and exploitation of vulnerable people – the harm extends far beyond the drug deals themselves.
“These weeks of action allow us to draw on a lot of our resources to tackle the issue in an intense burst, alongside the fantastic work our High Harm team does day in, day out to disrupt these supply chains.
“As ever, we need your help to do this. If drugs are an issue in your neighbourhood, or you see any suspicious behaviour you think might be connected to drug gangs, please report it to us.
“The information helps us build a stronger picture of what’s going on and ensure we have officers in the right place at the right time.
“Together, we can make sure drug dealers think twice before moving in to Southampton.”
Spotting the signs
Some of the things to look out for and consider include:
Do you know someone who is always going missing from school or their home?
Are they travelling alone to places far away from home?
Do they suddenly have lots of money/lots of new clothes/new mobile phones?
Are they receiving many more calls or texts than usual?
Are they carrying weapons or know people that have access to weapons?
Are they in a relationship with or hanging out with someone/people that are older and controlling?
Do they have unexplained injuries?
Do they seem very reserved or seem like they have something to hide?
Do they seem scared?
Are they self-harming?
County Lines drugs suppliers are often involved in a practice known as cuckooing, which is when drug gangs take over the home of a vulnerable person through violence and intimidation, using it as their base for selling/manufacturing drugs.
The signs of cuckooing include:
An increase in people coming and going from the address
An increase in cars or bikes outside
Signs of drugs use
You haven’t seen the person who lives there recently or when you have, they have been anxious or distracted
If you have any information about this type of behaviour you can call police on 101, make a report 100% anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, or visit Fearless.org