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Cross-border county lines gangs being tackled in regional operation

SA Updated
Cross-border county lines gangs being tackled in regional operation

Communities across the South Hams, Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are being urged to come forward and report any drug-related activity

Communities across the area are being urged to come forward and report any drug-related activity to "help build an intelligence-rich picture as part of a regional campaign to disrupt county lines gangs".

The Operation Scorpion intensification campaign will be taking place across the South West, with exact locations and timings being withheld.

In a statement from Devon and Cornwall Police, it explained that Op Scorpion, now in its sixth iteration since inception, "harnesses the collective powers of the region to disrupt drug-related crime and ensure young people and their families are warned about the dangers of exploitation and provided with guidance on how to spot the signs".

A spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall Police said: "Police and crime commissioners from Wiltshire, Devon and Cornwall, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Avon and Somerset have agreed with their respective chief constables that their forces, supported by the South West Regional Organised Crime unit (SWROCU), would combine operational powers to tackle cross-border drugs supply, drug-related crime and associated anti-social behaviour as part of this campaign.

"Information and intelligence from the public is a key tool to enabling Devon and Cornwall Police to focus operational activity on those involved in county lines drugs gangs who ply drugs in our communities and target vulnerable people.

"County lines is where drugs are transported across the country, usually by children or vulnerable people who are coerced by gangs."

Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall, said: "Information from the community led to a huge drugs growing operation being shut down in the last round of Operation Scorpion.

"This dangerous and exploitative cannabis factory was being run in my home town, hidden in plain sight. Thanks to information handed to police or Crimestoppers, Torquay is now a safer place and another dangerous drugs dealer is behind bars.

"I am now working relentlessly with Police and Crime Commissioners from around the South West, and their respective forces, to ensure that more dealing operations can be driven out of our villages, towns and cities by police working hand in hand with local people."

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Parker, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said: "We are committed to disrupting gangs who infiltrate our counties to ply drugs and target the most vulnerable members of our communities. Our disruption activity is centred on the intelligence and information we have about those individuals involved in drug supply and our communities are a key part of this information gathering process.

"I would like to thank the public for the information they have previously provided and would like to reassure them that it is all collated to help us understand what is taking place. Please continue to contact us with information and report any concerns you may have, whether in relation to drug-related activity, vulnerable people being exploited or any other suspicious activity in their areas."

If you have information about drug dealing or misuse in your community, you can report them to Devon & Cornwall Police by reporting it online via www.devon-cornwall.police.uk. If a crime is in progress or life is in danger, dial 999. You can also report information anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their website.

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