County Lines is a very serious issue where criminal gangs set up a drug dealing operation in a place outside their usual operating area. Gangs will move their drug dealing from big cities (e.g. London, Manchester, Liverpool etc.) to smaller towns in order to make more money. This can have a really big effect on the community who live there and bring with it serious criminal behaviour.
Criminal networks or gangs use their power and position to groom, recruit and exploit young people to move money and drugs from one area to another. Young people will often be made to travel outside of their local area, often to coastal or market towns, where they use dedicated phone lines or 'deal lines' to sell drugs.
In return the young people will often be given things that they want or need, such as money, gifts like designer clothes and trainers, status, perceived friendship, or protection. Soon these gifts turn into threats of what will happen if they don't complete their tasks. Intimidation tactics make it very difficult for young people to say no, particularly as debts are incurred.
Websites to visit for more information on county lines:
Fearless (opens a new window) is a site where young people can access non-judgemental information and advice about crime and criminality.
Getting it on (opens a new window) gives information and services for 13-19 year olds on sexual and mental health issues, drugs & alcohol and relationship problems