Devon and Cornwall Police are asking the public to be on the lookout for vulnerable young people as they could be being used as drug mules for drug dealers.
County Lines is what the police are calling the urban drug gangs from major cities such as London, Birmingham and Liverpool who
peddle class A drugs such as heroin, crack cocaine and ecstasy.
Police now believe there are over 2,000 County Lines, organised drug networks who exploit children and vulnerable adults in order to move and store drugs and money.
To keep order and control, the gangs use coercion, violence, intimidation and weapons. In the last two years we have seen the rise of these County Lines gangs moving in to our area, and we have reported the deaths of six teenagers in the area.
Children can be as young as 12 years old, but children most at risk are between 15 and 16 years old. Devon and Cornwall police have published a check-list. You should look for –
• A child or young person missing from school
or home or significant changes in emotional
• A person meeting unfamiliar adults or
changes to behaviour.
• The use of drugs and alcohol.
• Acquiring money or expensive gifts they
cannot account for.
• Lone children from outside the area.
• Individuals with multiple mobile phones,
tablets or SIM cards.
• Young people with more money, expensive
clothing or accessories they cannot account for.
• Unknown or suspicious people coming and
going from a neighbour’s house.
• Relationships with a controlling or older
individuals or associated with gangs
• Self-harm, physical assault or unexplained