Harrogate landlords could be taught how to spot drug-dealers

Spot the dealer: New advice could be on the way for Yorkshire landlords.
Spot the dealer: New advice could be on the way for Yorkshire landlords.

Landlords will be briefed on how to spot if their homes are being used as drug-dealing bases, under a new proposal to help police tackle County Lines crime.

In a notice of motion proposed by leader Richard Cooper and set to be discussed at the next full meeting of Harrogate Borough Council on October 2, councillors will be asked to vote on whether to adopt measures to help crackdown on local homes being used to deal drugs from by out-of-town criminals.

In the notice of motion, Coun Cooper states "that this council supports the police in their efforts to prevent County Lines drug dealing."

"Specifically the council uses its influence with public sector housing providers and private landlords to ensure that they are aware of how County Lines dealers are operating," the notice of motion states.

"This should include highlighting the dangers of cuckooing and what to do if they suspect a tenant is a victim of County Lines dealers."

The possibility of the borough taking action to help police was first raised by members of the Harrogate and Knaresborough area committee earlier this month, when the committee discussed how it could aid police in tackling County Lines crime.

County Lines crime refers to when drug-dealing gangs from larger cities expand their operations to smaller towns in search of higher profits and less competition from fellow drug-dealers.

Often the visiting dealers will commandeer homes to use as drug-dealing bases, a practice described as "cuckooing", with the dwellings of drug users common targets for dealers.

County Lines has almost made national headlines due to the prevalence of young people being caught up in it.
So far this year, more than 40 people have been arrested in North Yorkshire in the hunt for cross-county drug-dealing criminals, with almost half of those under the age of 18.
In an update to Harrogate councillors at the start of September, senior North Yorkshire Police said the youthful nature of offenders has seen an increase in the number of officers and Police Community Support Officers liaising with local schools to identify vulnerable young people at risk of becoming involved in the crime.

Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter