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Five Arrests In Scarborough For County Lines Drug Dealing

Five Arrests In Scarborough For County Lines Drug Dealing

Published by the Yorkshire Coast Radio News Team at 7:49am 18th October 2019.

Five people have been arrested in Scarborough for "county lines" drug dealing.

North Yorkshire Police arrested six people (five in Scarborough, one in Harrogate), carried out 53 welfare visits to cuckooing victims and safeguarded 16 adults during a national week of coordinated action to tackle “county lines” drug dealing. 

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. 

The Week of Intensification, coordinated by the National County Lines Coordination Centre (NCLCC), began on 7 October and involved all police forces across the country.

In North Yorkshire, officers also targeted public transport providers to raise awareness of how to spot children who may have been exploited and are traveling to North Yorkshire to sell drugs.  

Young people who have been groomed and exploited by drug dealers often travel long distances in taxis or buses and use cash – often high amounts - to pay their fare. 

Chief Inspector Emma Aldred of North Yorkshire Police, said:

“Due to the exploitation of vulnerable people and the violence that’s often associated with it, disrupting county lines remains a major priority for North Yorkshire Police

The week of intensification is an opportunity to highlight how we are tackling this issue in North Yorkshire, but what we also want to make clear, is that our work is going on every day of every week. 

Due to the vulnerability of its victims, working with partners to provide wrap-around care and support is also important if we are to break the cycle of drug dependency, vulnerability and antisocial behaviour associated with county lines.

My thanks go to all our partners who work with us every day to tackle this complex area of criminality and the social problems it brings with it.

Information from the public is also vital and helps to shape operational activity, so my plea to members of the public is please continue to report information, no matter how insignificant you think it might be.

Your information could be the crucial piece we need, or help to safeguard a vulnerable child or adult.”


Cuckooing refers to the practice of drug dealers taking 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.  

Cuckooing victims are often drug users themselves, or people who are vulnerable due to a mental or physical disability, their age or lifestyle, such as sex workers and single mothers.

North Yorkshire Police works with partner agencies including local authorities, housing providers, drug and alcohol support workers, pharmacies, homeless hostels and shelters, to provide interventions and support for these known victims.

The force also carries out regular welfare checks on known cuckooing victims. 

Cuckooing victims are often given free drugs in return for allowing dealers to stay at their home, resulting in them being dependent on the dealers and “owing” them a debt. 

Many victims of cuckooing may have unexplained injuries but are reluctant to get help or report it to the police as they are scared of the repercussions. Again, this is why information from the public or other agencies who come into contact with people is so important. 

Signs of cuckooing to look out for include 

  • Increased callers at a property at all times of the day or night
  • Increase in cars pulling up for short periods of time 
  • Different accents at a property 
  • Antisocial behaviour at a property
  • Not seeing the resident for long periods of time
  • Drug-related rubbish – small plastic bags, syringes
  • Windows covered or curtains closed for long periods
  • Unexplained or untreated injuries 

Child criminal exploitation – signs to look out for 

  • Persistently going missing from school or home and / or being found out-of-area
  • Unexplained money, clothes, or mobile phones
  • Excessive receipt of texts / phone calls
  • Relationships with controlling / older individuals or groups
  • Leaving home / care without explanation
  • Suspicion of physical assault / unexplained injuries
  • Carrying weapons
    Significant decline in school results / performance
  • Gang association or isolation from peers or social networks
  • Self-harm or significant changes in emotional well-being
  • Travelling long distances on public transport - is it term time? Should they be in school? Are they paying high cost fares with cash?  

Anyone with concerns about county lines can speak to local police on 101 or call 999 in an emergency.

If you’d rather stay anonymous you can call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

If you are a young person who is worried about being involved in county lines, or knows someone who is, you can speak to an adult and let them know how you feel.

You can also contact who allow you to pass on information about crime anonymously.

You can also contact Childline on 0800 1111 – they are a private and confidential service where you can talk to counsellors about anything that is worrying you.

During 2018, North Yorkshire Police made 191 arrests in relation to county lines and between 1 January and 30 September 2019, the force had made 99 arrests in relation to county lines. 

Get help for drug addiction 

North Yorkshire Horizons


FRANK helpline and information

Compass Reach (young people)


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