Cash and drugs seized as 73 arrested in West Midlands county line crackdown

Almost £20,000 in cash was seized and 73 people were arrested in the West Midlands as part of a national crackdown on county lines drug gangs.

The weapons seized from a Tipton home
The weapons seized from a Tipton home

Raids were carried out across the region, including at two houses in Tipton where a Samurai sword and a zombie knife were found.

The knife was hidden under a bed and the sword was behind a door, with both found at properties linked to a man suspected of supplying Class A drugs into Hereford.

Across the country more than 700 people were arrested and £400,000 worth of drugs were confiscated from October 7 to 13.

WATCH: West Midlands county lines crackdown

The National Crime Agency - who coordinated the crackdown - said 652 men and 91 women were arrested, 12 guns and 157 other weapons were seized, 49 "deal lines" were disrupted and 655 cuckooed addresses were visited, with West Midlands Police executing 29 warrants.

County lines refers to the mobile phone lines dedicated to taking orders from drug users, which are operated by criminals from big cities who have expanded into smaller towns.

Young and vulnerable people are often used to act as drug runners or have their homes taken over, or "cuckooed", to be used as drug dens.

There are believed to be around 100 county lines emanating from the West Midlands supplying heroin and cocaine into rural areas.

An officer holding the Samurai sword

During the week of action, West Midlands Police ran 14 Automatic Number Plate Recognition operations targeting crooks using the road network to move drugs and joined British Transport Police on the lookout for vulnerable people on trains.

Video footage has been released showing the moment traffic police boxed in a man suspected of running drugs from Birmingham into Droitwich making up to £4,000 a day.

The 31-year-old from Birmingham was arrested on suspicion of possessing drugs with intent to supply, while his 40-year-old driver, from Droitwich, was held on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of drugs.

Both have since been released under investigation while officers conduct more inquiries.

The zombie knife was found under a bed

Nobody was arrested from the houses raided in Tipton.

Meanwhile neighbourhood officers have been busy visiting schools and colleges in a bid to divert teenagers away from drug crime.

Superintendent Rich Agar, West Midlands Police’s county lines lead, said: “There have been several national weeks of action now aimed at county lines drug dealing and this has been our most successful to date.

“It’s crucial we work with police colleagues in neighbouring forces and across the UK − plus other partners − to effectively tackle the scourge of county lines and that’s exactly what we did last week to great effect.

“County lines is a cruel crime; offenders are making significant sums of money out of the misery of other people.

“They groom and exploit vulnerable people, often teenage boys and girls, with promises of quick money, designer clothes and kudos.

"But they treat them as simple commodities to do their dirty work moving and dealing drugs.

"We’ve found children holed up in squalid conditions and exposed to very dangerous people and environments − a far cry from what they’re promised."

Anyone with information is urged to contact West Midlands Police by calling 101 or via Live Chat on the police website.

Alternatively call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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