Two arrests in Weston every week connected to ‘county line’ drug-dealing

PUBLISHED: 08:00 26 July 2018

City-basec criminals are targeting vulnerable people in Weston. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

City-basec criminals are targeting vulnerable people in Weston. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Archant

Two people are being arrested in Weston-super-Mare every week in connection with ‘county line’ drug-dealing.

Weston police are making two arrests a week connected to county lines.Weston police are making two arrests a week connected to county lines.

County lines is a term used by police to describe gangs and organised crime networks which are exploiting children and vulnerable adults to move and store drugs and money.

Criminals based in cities are using vulnerable people in places including Weston to sell drugs on their behalf, while threatening them with violence.

In the past month-and-a-half, police have arrested around two people a week in Weston for offences relating to county line dealing.

Sergeant Lee Kerslake said at a meeting of Weston Hillside and Central Partners and Community Together (PACT) group: “We have made two arrests a week for people involved in county line drug-dealing.

“For those issues we have been issuing community protection notices and banning them from Weston.

“If they come back we arrest them immediately and send them back to wherever they have originated from.”

Police have issued one public space protection injunction to someone involved in the activity, which means they are banned from Weston.

However, Sergeant Kerslake said it can take a lot of work and evidence for the police to get to that point.

He said: “It takes a lot of work getting us to orders which makes them arrestable. It requires a lot of evidence.

“We are saying you can never come on holiday in Weston, or go shopping in Weston.

“You are controlling their lives to a considerable degree. Courts don’t want to do this lightly.”

Avon and Somerset Constabulary is working with the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit to protect vulnerable people.

On July 13, two men from London were arrested in Weston during welfare visits, and police say a vast amount of intelligence was gathered from stop and searches.

A spokesman for the Weston police team said: “We continue to be relentless in our pursuit of those dealing drugs and taking advantage of vulnerable people in Weston.”

Anyone with information can contact police on 101 or visit www.avonandsomerset.police.uk

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