MULTIPLE arrests have been made by North Yorkshire Police in a week of action targeting county lines drug dealing.

Officers arrested 14 people and made safeguarding visits to 38 vulnerable people at risk of being exploited by drug dealers.

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The activity was part of a national “week of intensification” led by the National Crime Agency that saw police forces across the country work to tackle county lines drug networks.

Detective Chief Inspector Lorraine Crossman-Smith who coordinated the week of activity in North Yorkshire, said: “This week’s action gives a glimpse of the work that goes on the target county lines drug dealing all year round.

“Thanks to these national weeks of action, we are able to draw on additional resources such as our British Transport Police colleagues, the Regional Organised Crime Unit and local partner agencies to tackle what is a major priority for us.

“In addition to enforcement activity, a major focus for North Yorkshire Police is protecting vulnerable people who are drawn into the world of drug dealing.

"Whether young people who are forced to sell drugs on behalf gangs. Or those who are forced to let drug dealers use their homes as a base for selling drugs in a form of exploitation known as “cuckooing”.

“It requires support from a number of agencies including local authorities, community safety partnerships, housing providers, charities, health workers and drug rehabilitation services.

"My thanks go to all the agencies who supported the week and for their ongoing efforts throughout the year.”

Young people who have been groomed and exploited by drug dealers often travel long distances on public transport to deliver money and drugs.

Officers engaged with transport providers including taxi and bus drivers to raise awareness of how to spot children who may have been exploited and are travelling to North Yorkshire to sell drugs.

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They also patrolled railways stations with BTP where they talked to rail passengers and were on the look-out for potential victims of trafficking, and drugs being transported into the county.

The force also teamed up with children’s author, Christina Gabbitas to give talks to school children about the dangers of drugs and gangs.

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