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Report Shows County Lines On Yorkshire Coast

Report Shows County Lines On Yorkshire Coast

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Stuart Minting at 2:25pm 19th September 2019. (Updated at 2:26pm 19th September 2019)

The extent to which Scarborough and Whitby are being gripped by heroin and crack cocaine gangs being run from cities across the North has been laid bare in an official report.

North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel will hear the county is the region’s biggest importer of County Lines (CLs) – the trafficking and dealing of drugs by organised criminal groups who use telephone lines used to facilitate this.

In a report which Julia Mulligan, the county’s police, fire and crime commissioner, calls for a concerted drive involving numerous organisations to tackle the issue, she revealed police have identified 20 unique deal line telephone numbers linked to 14 different CLs, which target places best connected by rail and road links.

The report states Scarborough and Whitby have two of these county lines. 

Heroin and crack cocaine are the main drugs being supplied through the lines, which have also been linked to child sexual exploitation, firearms, the trafficking of young people both local and from out of area, the exploitation of vulnerable adults, and to serious violence.

Police have linked 102 people to CL offending and said violence tended to appear where rival gangs vie for control of an area, or where local dealers try to profit from rival gangs. Repercussions have included kidnap and hammer or machete attacks.

The report states seven of the North Yorkshire lines are involved in cuckooing –  when dealers take over the home of a vulnerable person and use it to deal drugs – with 74 addresses being identified in the last 12 months.

Last month alone 27 victims of cuckooing were identified. While most are drug users, they live in both affluent areas with good transport links, as well as more deprived areas.

The commissioner’s report states:

“Police have a good understanding of the challenge and are proactively responding – disrupting trafficking routes and protecting vulnerable people.

“Partnership work is developing, but more is required to ensure consistent, proactive and pervasive messaging to reach all communities.”

A review by the National County Lines Co-ordination Centre in July found national best practice in North Yorkshire’s response to cuckooing and its processes to identify and safeguard vulnerable victims.

It also found a good understanding of the threat, risk and harm, but highlighted several areas for improvement, such as increased partnership work.

The report concludes:

“Gaining the most accurate and full picture of local demand and dependency levels will require a deeper sharing of partnership data across, police, health, local authority and third sector.”

To address this, Mrs Mulligan has called for a North Yorkshire drugs summit later this year to launch a coordinated campaign, which will see partners working together to deliver information across schools, businesses and in communities about supply, enforcement, prevention and intervention services.

Meanwhile, Crimestoppers are hoping to provide a worker who will work with schools in the county to build education on the dangers of drugs and weapons.

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