Police action aimed at blocking County Lines drug activity

In searches carried out at Hastings Station last week designed to counter County Lines drug operations police seized drugs and an offensive weapon.

Working with British Transport Police (BTP), Border Force and UK Immigration Enforcement, Sussex Police carried out a two-day enforcement and safeguarding operation aimed at the train network connecting Hastings and Eastbourne to London.

The Sussex team, known as Discovery, focused on young people and other vulnerable people using the train lines in order to move drugs from place to place, known as County Lines.

At Hastings railway station on Thursday July 1st, officers, working with BTP, carried out 17 stop searches for drugs, and six stop and account interventions. They made three seizures of cannabis, detected by police dogs, and seized a knuckle duster. One person was given a community resolution requirement for possession of cannabis, three people were subject of Border Force enquiries and one immigration enquiry is continuing into the legal status in this country of one of those who was stopped

At Eastbourne railway station on the following day the Sussex officers, working with BTP, DWP and Immigration Enforcement, carried out 13 stop searches, made two arrests of people wanted on warrant, carried out a community resolution outcome for possession of cannabis and made three seizures of cannabis, again with the assistance of police dogs.

Eight people were referred to DWP investigators for investigation of benefit fraud offences and four people were referred to Immigration Enforcement for further investigation of their status in the UK.

Detective Sergeant Greg Montier said; “We’re seeing young people involved in County Lines become a growing concern in East Sussex. One of our tactics is to conduct these highly visible targeted days to disrupt these gangs who try to operate on the railway lines and, by using partners from safeguarding units, offer the support vulnerable people need to disassociate themselves from these groups and drug criminality.

Discovery in East Sussex brings together local police officers, fire officers, Stop the Traffik Hastings, King’s Church and staff from Hastings and Rother Councils, DWP, HMRC, Home Office Immigration, the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, and local charities, all with the aim of seeing victims of modern slavery rescued and supported, and perpetrators brought to justice.

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