New boss welcomes arrests in North Yorkshire during crackdown on county lines crime

North Yorkshire's newly-elected Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner has welcomed the results of a recent national week of action to tackle “county lines” drug dealing which has resulted in 20 arrests in North Yorkshire.

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 3:28 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th May 2021, 3:34 pm
North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Philip Allott said: “Too many still believe that because North Yorkshire is picturesque and rural, that drugs are not a problem here."

Commenting on the action on county lines taken in North Yorkshire during a national week of action, North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Philip Allott said: “I welcome the arrests, visits and seizures made here in North Yorkshire and across the country as part of the week of action to tackle county lines drug dealing.

"But we should be under no illusions about the scale of the challenge we face from these organised criminals who bring tragedy to communities and scar our society."

Official police figures show North Yorkshire Police arrested 20 people and made 87 welfare visits to 95 vulnerable people during the national campaign.

The force worked with the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit and British Transport Police (BTP) as part of the ‘Week of Intensification’ that took place between 17 and 23 May and was coordinated by the National County Lines Coordination Centre (NCLCC).

The arrests took place in York, 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.

North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Philip Allott, who made tackling county lines crime one of his campaign pledges in the recent PFCC election, said: “Too many still believe that because North Yorkshire is picturesque and rural, that drugs are not a problem here.

"They are - and we need to do even more to get them off our streets and protect the young people who are exploited by dealers who travel here, force them to sell drugs and cause untold damage to their lives and the lives of those who buy and take illegal substances because they’re easily available and under pressure to do so.

“Ensuring we take prompt action to educate and enforce is one of my priorities as Commissioner. I have made that commitment clear to the Chief Constable and will ensure the force gets the resources and support it needs to protect those at risk, bring offenders to justice and keep our communities safe.

"I will do everything possible to protect the residents of North Yorkshire and York.”

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.

North Yorkshire Police’s participation in the national week of action to tackle “county lines” drug dealing was coordinated by Chief Inspector Lorraine Crossman-Smith.

Speaking after the new crackdown, she said: “Disrupting drug dealing and the associated violence and exploitation continues to be a major priority for North Yorkshire Police.

“The week of intensification has given us an opportunity to demonstrate the type of work that goes on around the force on a daily basis. I am pleased with the results that come in the wake of a number of recent convictions for drug dealing including a gang of 10 and a gang of 4 that targeted York, and a gang of five that plagued Scarborough.

“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.

Factfile: Arrests in Harrogate during the national crackdown

On May 17 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, May 22 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.

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