Officers have been carrying out more drugs warrants today (08/10) in Swindon as part of Wiltshire Police’s operation to stop County Lines.

A total of eight males have been arrested today on suspicion of supplying crack and heroin.

The properties visited today were:

Mazurek Way – a 16-year-old boy arrested
Kennedy Drive – a 16-year-old boy arrested
Bowleymead, Eldene – a 19-year-old man arrested
Whitworth Road – a 37-year-old man arrested
Tudor Walk – an 18-year-old man arrested
No fixed address (Swindon) – a 41-year-old man arrested in the town centre
No fixed address – a 51-year-old man arrested in the Walcot area
Town centre – a 17-year-old boy arrested

Following on from yesterday’s warrants, a total of 11 people were arrested, nine have been bailed and two have now been charged:

Connor Cahill, aged 20, of no fixed address has been charged with three counts of possession with intent to supply crack and heroin, one count of supplying heroin and one count of supplying crack (total of five charges).

Sean Drayton, aged 46, from Penhill Drive has been charged with one count of supplying heroin, one count of supplying crack and one count of resisting arrest (total of three charges).

Both are due before Swindon Magistrates’ Court tomorrow (09/10).

County Lines is the name given to a drug dealing methodology which involves criminal networks from urban centres expanding their activities into smaller towns and rural areas.

Dealers typically use a single phone line to facilitate the supply of class A drugs – frequently heroin and crack cocaine – to customers. The line becomes a valuable brand and is protected with violence and intimidation.

Detective Inspector Paul Franklin said:

“Our work to stop criminal gangs pushing drugs in to our towns and county continues with more arrests today.

“County Lines destroys lives and its our job to enforce the law and target these gangs to crack-down on illegal drug dealing.
“However, our work is also about prevention and protection – trying to stop the exploitation of children and vulnerable adults who get caught up with these drug networks.
“Education is key and we are working with colleagues in local authorities, schools and safeguarding partners to provide information and highlight the dangers of County Lines.
“However, everyone living in Swindon and the rest of Wiltshire can do their bit; we all need to take responsibility to help the police close down these illegal drug dealings.
“Please make yourself aware of the signs to look out for to help stop these criminals from exploiting our young and vulnerable people.
“Also, keep calling 101 or reporting via the police website whenever you see or hear something suspicious”

Here are some common signs to look out for which could indicate that a person is involved in County Lines and possible drug dealing:

  • Change in mood and/or demeanour (e.g. secretive/ withdrawn/ aggressive/ emotional)
  • Substance misuse and/or drug paraphernalia
  • Changes in the way they dress
  • Unexplained, sometimes unaffordable new things (e.g clothes, jewellery, cars etc)
  • Young people going missing, maybe for long periods of time
  • Young people seen in different cars/taxis driven by unknown adults
  • Young people seeming unfamiliar with your community or where they are
  • Truancy, exclusion, disengagement from school
  • An increase in anti-social behaviour in the community
  • Unexplained injuries

Vulnerable people can also have their homes taken over by drug gangs as bases to stash and deal drugs. Known as ‘drug dens’ ‘crack houses’ ‘trap houses’ or ‘cuckooed’ properties. The occupant is effectively just a host for the strangers who knock on the door at any hour and only useful for as long as the property doesn’t come to police notice.

Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Other people seen inside the house or flat who don’t normally live there
  • People coming and going from the property at all hours
  • More taxis and cars than usual appearing at the property
  • Not seeing the person who lives there as frequently
  • When you do see the occupant, they may appear anxious or distracted
  • Seeing drugs paraphernalia near to the property

If you have information about drug dealing in your area there are options available for reporting. You can call us on 101 or 999 in an emergency or go to where you can report anonymously.

Alternatively you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit the young people’s website