POLICE have made 37 arrests as they attempt to break county lines in West Mercia and the wider area.

Officers across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire have arrested 37 people during the crackdown of activity targeting county lines gangs.

Drugs with an estimated street value of more than £50,000 were seized during the week, that took place between October 11 and October 17.

Across the West Mercia policing area weapons including three air-weapons and five knives were confiscated, four vehicles were seized, multiple mobile phones as well as more than £46,000 cash recovered during the week of intelligence led intensified activity.

Where vulnerable people are known to live and potentially be at risk to cuckooing for example, 104 addresses were visited.

Assistant Chief Constable Damian Barratt said: “Last week’s targeted activity tackling county lines gangs demonstrates how our officers are working tirelessly to disrupt and dismantle drugs supply and protect the young and vulnerable people who are exploited by them in our communities.

“With 37 arrests made, various warrants executed and cars stopped we have significantly disrupted county lines activity across West Mercia. Importantly, we have safeguarded a number of vulnerable people.

“The great work done by all officers and staff involved goes on all of the time and it is important to remember that operations such as these during this national week of intensification are very much ‘business as usual’ for all our teams. The intelligence gathering and preparation that has gone into making arrests and disrupting these drug trafficking lines have been, in some cases, weeks and months in the making.

“Education is also key, and our officers have conducted many visits to schools, social care providers, health professionals and other important community groups. By providing information on what to look for we can help the community to spot the signs of cuckooing – where gangs target the most vulnerable individuals and use their homes to sell drugs from. As well giving advice on how to spot the signs of vulnerable young people and adults being used in dealing drugs.

“County lines continues to remain a priority for West Mercia Police. We want to ensure the region becomes a no go area for travelling criminality. We will continue to pursue and prosecute those who bring drugs into our counties, commit violence and exploit vulnerable members of our communities.”

Anyone with suspicions that a property is being used to sell drugs from, or that a young and/or vulnerable individual may be getting involved with county lines drug dealing is asked to contact their local police station or to ring 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 where the information can be given anonymously.