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Arrests in Grantham as police crack down on drugs gangs

Police made a number of arrests in Grantham during a national week of action against 'county lines' which was part of a crackdown across the East Midlands in October.

In the fourth County Lines Intensification Week since the inception of the National County Lines Coordination Centre in September 2018, 64 people were arrested and seven deal lines were disconnected.

‘County lines’ refers to the gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs into one or more importing areas in the UK, using dedicated mobile phone lines or another form of ‘deal line’. Gangs based in cities are targeting the most vulnerable people in smaller areas across the country, including Lincolnshire, to sell class A drugs on their behalf.

Lincolnshire Police (9286998)
Lincolnshire Police (9286998)

In Grantham a 25-year-old man was arrested in Harrowby Close for driving whilst disqualified. Jabari Weekes, of no fixed address, was charged with various driving offences and remanded to court. He appeared before Lincoln magistrates earlier this month and is now on conditional bail until November 5 when he will appear at Lincoln Crown Court.

A 26-year old man was arrested at the same location on suspicion of driving offences and has been reported for these.

A male, aged 16, was also arrested for possession of a controlled drug in Harrow Street and has been released on bail.

During the operation, 40 vulnerable people were engaged with and 54 cuckooed addresses were visited over the seven days of intensive activity. More than 1,000 wraps of class A drugs were seized, along with quantities of cannabis and mamba, 19 phones, designer clothes and more than £15,000 in cash.

Among 18 weapons seized were knives, a knuckleduster and a stun gun.

A number of arrests were also made in Sleaford and Lincoln. All arrests were made at properties linked to county lines.

A spokesman for Lincolnshire Police said the county force seized crack cocaine and heroin across the week but do not know the quantities or values yet. He said 22 addresses were visited which had previously been used for county lines activity or where it was felt the occupants were vulnerable to exploitation.

Detective Inspector Emma Nealon, who coordinates the East Midlands’ response to county lines, said: “The week’s activity is merely a glance at the breadth of work we are undertaking as a region to tackle county lines. It’s important we work together across our five forces, as well as with other force areas, to get the full picture and understand the extent of each line so we can identify and thus target the source.

“But at the heart of county lines is a social problem in which vulnerable members of our society are being trafficked and enslaved through violence and manipulation and, as such, it’s not something police can tackle alone. We are working closely with our partners in health, social care and education, as well as various charities, not only to identify those at risk of exploitation, but also to offer them a way out.

“You can help too. These gangs are recruiting young people, through promises of firm friends, quick cash and a glamourous lifestyle, then sending them out to small towns and rural areas to peddle their drugs. They are finding dependant drug users and using their addresses to deal from. Once involved these people feel trapped into a cycle of criminality that they are unable to escape.

“Look closer. Is there a young person showing signs of involvement in county lines? Have they ditched their mates for a new crowd? Are they flashing the cash and skipping school or work, disappearing for days on end?

“Are there strangers turning up in taxis and other cars to a house near you that you know is occupied by a vulnerable person? Have you seen that resident recently?

“If you know of a young person who may be vulnerable to exploitation by these gangs or if you think there might be a cuckooed address in your area, call us.”

Phone police on 101 with any concerns and information. Otherwise, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Always call 999 in an emergency.

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