SEVEN arrests have been made during a week of police raids by a team who are targeting drug dealers.

The South Worcester Proactive CID Team are targeting 'County Lines' drug dealers, where criminal gangs set up a drug dealing operation in the county from other cities.

Last week, officers arrested seven people - all of who were released under investigation, recovered more than £1,600 in cash and seized10 mobile phones.

The previous week there were six arrests to do with County Lines, where four have been charged and will go to court in June.

The arrests were made as part of Operation Protect - an initiative to target serious and organised crime in West Mercia. The aim of the initiative is to cut the supply of class A drugs into smaller cities like Worcester from major cities such as Birmingham.

Detective Sergeant Luke Papps, who is head of the team, said he believed there has been a reduction in violent crime in Worcester as a result of targeting drug dealers locally and branching out.

DS Papps said: “Our aim is to make Worcester a less desirable place for someone to supply drugs. We want to continue to make it a safe place. We are moving weapons off the streets, which include acid, ammonia, knives and CS spray – all of which have been brought into Worcester through people supplying drugs.”

He added: “We have got more significant prison sentences for people. We will work with everyone and anyone necessary to achieve that aim of making Worcester a safe place and make it a difficult place for dealers to supply.

“What we do is make sure it is not all about the arrests, but it’s about people getting convicted and getting decent sentences. We then put measures in place to restrict them from coming back to Worcester.”

Officers have made almost 40 arrests this year and recovered numerous weapons, including a CS spray and seven knives, which include Stanley and lock knives.

The South Worcester Proactive CID Team was formed in 2016 and consists of a Sergeant and eight detectives. Officers choose their own investigations and work alongside the Local Policing Priority Team where colleagues across South Worcester assist with arrest and searches, all the way through to court.

DS Papps says the team do not restrict themselves to Worcester, instead the officers go to the root of the problem, adding: “We have had investigations that have spread across into Essex and Metropolitan forces.”

Officers work with partner agencies including housing to ensure people are safe within their homes. Working together with the local policing Safer Neighbourhood Team, 11 vulnerable addresses were visited last week.

DS Papps' team uses warrants to visit addresses and if an individual is found to be vulnerable, they put safeguarding measures in place.

“It is all about community safety and making people feel safe in their homes,” he said.

Another initiative was launched in 2017 called Operation Blade, which saw a reduction in violent crime in South Worcester by 25 per cent over 15 months.