Harrogate police seize drugs, weapons and cash in County Lines operation

Weapons, drugs and large wads of cash have been seized by police in a County Lines drugs operation in Harrogate.

Thursday, 16th January 2020, 2:57 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th January 2020, 3:07 pm

The items were taken from three men last week by the Operation Expedite team, North Yorkshire Police revealed yesterday.

The force posted an image of a large knife and drugs paraphernalia on social media and said: "Drugs and weapons have no place in our communities, we need your help to stop it.

These items were seized by police in Harrogate last week. Picture: North Yorkshire Police.

"Please call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 with information."

Harrogate Police Commander, Det Supt Steve Thomas, has previously said that County Lines crime has become a big issue for Harrogate, with dealers from as far as Peterborough coming to the town to target vulnerable people, including children.

Det Supt Thomas said: “We do have an issue with County Lines drug dealing in Harrogate, which again we are quite open with, and I am reassured that as a force and as a district we have a really good, strong response.

“It is a challenge - we do have a Class A drug user market in Harrogate that is seen by those outside in some of the bigger towns and cities, either surrounding us or further afield, as an opportunity to come in and deal those drugs to that kind of client group, which does represent some challenges to us. And what we know is that potentially on the periphery of that there will be some of our younger, more vulnerable and open to influence young children, and that’s why we are working hard with our expedite team to challenge that.

“Whenever you have any town that has a drug dealing issue, when you’ve got County Lines, you have organised crime groups coming from different areas who come into conflict with local criminals and organised crime groups, and they tread on each other’s toes.

“And what happens is you often end up with people from outside the area who are vulnerable themselves in terms of being exposed to threats of violence who are dealing with things like recovering debt, and that can often then lead to things like robberies.

“That all ties in then potentially with this periphery of young children who might see it as a gang culture, who might think on the face of it that it is quite cool and want to hang around on the periphery, but they pick up on some of these behaviours.”

Det Supt Thomas has reassured residents that Harrogate is still a very safe place, and that police are continuing to do everything they can to stamp out the issue.

He said: “We are working really hard on this, we’ve doubled our expedite team in Harrogate temporarily just while we know we have this ongoing issue, so we can keep disrupting the criminality. And a lot of what we do is reaching out and supporting vulnerable people so that they don’t get cuckooed by some of these gangs.

“Although there has been some significant incidents, I think the general scale and volume of things isn’t particularly out of kilter with the norm. It’s just that when you get the odd incident that really jumps out at you, it creates more worry.”

Some of the signs of County Lines drug dealing to look out for are:

- Increased callers at a property

- Increase in cars pulling up for short periods of time

- Increased anti-social behaviour at a property

- Not seeing the resident for long periods of time

- Unfamiliar vehicles at the property

- Windows covered or curtains closed for long periods