BRITISH Transport Police and Avon and Somerset officers have joined forces in an operation to disrupt county lines drug activities in Somerset and the rest of the South West.
Operation Enhance, part of BTP’s County Lines Taskforce’s day-to-day efforts to make the railway a hostile environment for organised criminals to move drugs and illicit cash across the UK, ran for three weeks.
In that time, BTP officers arrested 78 people, seized 48 lots of drugs and £69,000 in cash across the country. They also removed 15 dangerous weapons from the rail network and identified and referred vulnerable children and adults caught up in the activity for safeguarding.
A police spokesperson said; “A key aim of the team is to identify and safeguard vulnerable children and adults often exploited by organised criminals to transport the drugs and cash between import and export locations.
“These locations can be hundreds of miles apart, and the taskforce covers areas as far south as Cornwall and as far north as the tip of Scotland.”
BTP County Lines Taskforce lead, Detective Superintendent Gareth Williams, said: “It’s vital we partner with our police colleagues across the counties to share information to disrupt the County Lines drug supply business model.
“The outstanding results demonstrate that a truly collective effort maximises our disruptive effect, but also makes a real difference to local communities that are being harmed through this exploitative criminality.”
Avon & Somerset Police lead for County Lines, Superintendent Kerry Paterson, said: “County Lines drug dealing affects communities across the entire country by harming our most vulnerable and increasing the number of crimes on our doorsteps.
“We are pleased with the results from Operation Enhance, which mean we have fewer dealers, drugs, and dangerous weapons on our streets.