Police arrested 20 people during a week of action across North Yorkshire to tackle ‘county lines’ drug dealing.
Arrests also took place in Harrogate, Whitby, Thirsk, Scarborough, and on the A1 motorway.
Officers seized a total of £10,000 cash suspected as being the proceeds of crime and a quantity of heroin, cannabis, pregabalin and a large quantity of suspected cocaine which is still undergoing testing but is believed to be worth several thousands of pounds.
What is county lines?
County lines is the name given to a form of organised crime in which drug dealers from urban areas exploit vulnerable people – including children – and force them to deal drugs in smaller towns and cities. It takes its name from the mobile phone lines used by dealers to communicate between towns and advertise their drugs for sale.
During the operation, officers also made 87 welfare visits to 95 vulnerable people.
Chief Inspector Lorraine Crossman-Smith coordinated North Yorkshire Police’s participation in the week of intensification.
“I am pleased with the results that come in the wake of a number of recent convictions for drug dealing including a gang of ten and a gang of four that targeted York, and a gang of five that plagued Scarborough,” she said.
“That said, it is not only about arrests and convictions, it’s also about protecting those who are affected by the violence and intimidation, helping them to break the cycle of addiction and moving them away from the harm that comes from being targeted by ruthless, organised criminals.”
The York arrests
Drugs raid, 21 May
Two men and two women were arrested at a property in York following a warrant carried out under the Misuse of Drugs Act on 21 May. All four who are aged in their 30s, were arrested on suspicion of drug offences. Officers also seized a quantity of drugs and several mobile phones. Three of the suspects have been released while under investigation and a fourth has been released on conditional police bail.
Driver arrested, 22 May
On Saturday night (22 May) officers on patrol in York city centre became suspicious of a vehicle and its occupant. Officers followed the car where it came to a stop outside a hotel. The vehicle was searched and a large amount of cash was found along with a lock knife. The driver of the car, a man in his 20s, was arrested on suspicion of possessing criminal property (the cash) and possessing a knife. He was questioned and released while under investigation.
Drugs discovery, 19 May
A man in his 40s was arrested in York on 19 May after officers found the remains of a suspected cannabis grow at a property in York. The man was arrested on suspicion of cultivating cannabis and being concerned in the production of cannabis. He was taken into custody for questioning and release while under investigation to allow for further enquiries to be carried out.
Spot the signs
Cuckooing is the term given when drug dealers take over the home of a vulnerable person and use it at a base to sell and store drugs, often using violence and intimidation to achieve this.
Arrests elsewhere in North Yorkshire
On 17 May officers from North Yorkshire Police’s proactive team, Operation Expedite, were on patrol in plain clothes in the Avenue Grove area when their suspicions were raised by the activity of a man who was stopped and searched and found to have class A drugs on him.
Enquiries then led officers to search a nearby property where they found three other men who were also searched. Officers recovered more drugs stashed in a mattress, £200 in cash from one of the men and other suspected drugs paraphernalia including three mobile phones. A fourth man was also arrested on suspicion of theft offences.
A man in his 40s who had breached his prison licence and was wanted for recall to prison was arrested in Harrogate on Sunday morning (22 May) and returned to prison.
A man in his 30s was arrested on Otley Road on Sunday after officers were concerned about the erratic manner of driving. He failed a roadside drug wipe and was arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence of drugs and possessing class A drugs. He was released while under investigation.
A1 near Wetherby
Two men and a woman, all from Leeds, were arrested in the early hours of Saturday 22 May after the car they were travelling in was stopped by officers on the A1 near Wetherby. Officers searched the car and the suspects and found a large amount of cash, a meat cleaver and a small amount of cannabis. The driver, a man in his 30s was arrested on suspicion of a number of motoring offences including drug driving and driving while disqualified and possessing a knife. The passengers, a woman in her 30s, was arrested on suspicion of possessing cannabis and possessing a knife, and a man in his 20s was arrested on suspicion of possessing a knife, acquiring criminal property (the cash), he was also recalled to prison for breaching the terms of his prison license. All three were arrested on suspicion of vehicle theft. The driver has been released while under investigation and the woman was released without charge.
On Saturday afternoon officers stopped a speeding vehicle on the A1 near Tadcaster. On noticing the smell of cannabis from the car, offices searched it and found a large vacuum bag of cannabis. The driver, a man in his 30s from Romford, Essex, was arrested and later charged with possessing cannabis. He is due to appear at York Magistrates’ Court on 8 June.
In Whitby a man in his 20s was arrested on Friday 21 May on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs and possessing class A drugs with intent to supply. Officers searched him and his home and recovered class A drugs, cash, mobile phones and drugs paraphernalia. He has been released while under investigation.
Two men aged in their 30s were arrested in Thirsk on Wednesday 19 May after offices stopped a car when they became concerned about the manner of driving. After noticing a strong smell of cannabis, a search of the vehicle resulted in officers seizing a large bag containing 15 smaller bags of suspected cannabis along with two bags of from the driver.
Both men were arrested on suspicion of possessing cannabis with intent to supply. The driver was also arrested on suspicion of driving while unfit through drugs after failing a drug test. Both were released while under investigation
On Wednesday 22 May, a woman in her 50s was arrested on suspicion of possessing class A drugs after she was detained by officers in relation to a separate offence. She has been released on bail while enquiries continue.