Police in Merseyside (on Thursday 19 May) joined forces with partners in the Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU), North Wales Police, Cheshire Police and Lancashire Constabulary to continue the crackdown on County Lines drug dealing across our region.
Utilising intelligence, officers from the force’s Matrix Vehicle Enforcement (MVET) team have been out across the county, stopping vehicles identified as being linked to County Lines drug dealing, both within Merseyside and into other regions.
As a result of this activity, officers stopped 26 cars, made three arrests and seized cash and mobile phones in Merseyside.
MVET is a team of specialist officers and vehicles who specifically target criminals who use the roads. Utilising the latest technology and high specification vehicles, the team are able to combat criminality on the roads throughout Merseyside and target travelling criminality into other UK force areas.
Detective Superintendent Andy O’Connor said: “This operation is just one tactic used by Project Medusa to crackdown on those involved in County Lines, by putting a stop to money, drugs and even weapons being moved across our region and into neighbouring counties.
“We know that those involved in County Lines use any means they can – cars, trains, buses, to move these items and today, we have been able to stop vehicles we know to be involved in County Lines and take those responsible off our streets.”
He added: “County Lines are run by organised criminals, who use young and vulnerable people to move, store and sell their drugs. These crime groups are happy to reap any rewards for this criminality, leaving all the risk to the young and vulnerable people they use.
“We want to put a stop to these crime groups exploiting young and vulnerable people. Where we find those who have been exploited, we ensure they are treated sensitively. As we have done today, where we find those controlling the lines, we will make arrests and put these offenders before the courts.”
Assistant Chief Constable Chris Green from the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (NWROCU) said:
“Here at the NWROCU, with staff and officers from across all six forces in the North West we’re committed to safeguarding the young and vulnerable people who are exploited by gangs to move, store and sell their drugs.
“We use a whole system approach to tackling organised crime, working with our local forces locally, regionally and nationally to share intelligence and to identify opportunities to take enforcement action, but also where we can collectively protect those who are vulnerable and prevent harm.
“Today’s operation demonstrates the power of working closely with our partners to strengthen our regional response to county lines.”