Crimestoppers joins the police to tackle growing 'County Lines' drug networks for the first time
Main article content
We are working with Crimestoppers and West Midlands Police to encourage anyone with information about organised drug gangs to contact Crimestoppers anonymously by calling freephone 0800 555 111.
It's the first time the police service has united with the charity to launch an initiative aimed at disrupting and stopping drug gangs moving from larger cities to settle in rural areas and county towns across the East and West Midlands.
Criminals often recruit children, young people and vulnerable adults through the promise of friendship, money, drugs and more, in return for couriering illegal drugs and money across cities, towns and villages, known as ‘County Lines’. Sadly, these relationships soon turn violent with victims being robbed, threatened, and abused.
The charity is encouraging anyone with information or suspicions about organised drug gangs - and victims who need safeguarding - to contact Crimestoppers 100% anonymously by calling freephone 0800 555 111 at any time or by completing a secure online form at Crimestoppers-uk.org or Fearless.org for young people, where more can also be learnt about the warning signs of county lines activity.
Fearless.org also offers young people non-judgemental advice so they can make informed decisions about lifestyle choices and realise that they have an alternative option when reporting crime. Anybody can get caught up in illegal, harmful drug activity. Signs to spot that something may not be right include: - Changes in the way young people you know might dress and unexplained sometimes unaffordable, new clothes, jewellery, phones, cars etc - Access to multiple phones/receiving excess phone calls or texts - You witness them dealing drugs.
Criminals can take over a home or short term let as a drugs base; this is known as ‘cuckooing’. Signs of this can include: - Regular short stay visitors - Residents or young people going missing, maybe for long periods of time - Curtains often always closed during the day - A change of resident's mood/demeanour (e.g. secretive/withdrawn/ aggressive/ emotional) - Unusual frequency of take away food - Increase in rubbish/drug paraphernalia.
Alan Edwards, West Midlands Regional Manager at the charity Crimestoppers, said: “Crimestoppers is here to help by taking your information whilst never asking for or storing any of your personal details. We are proud to be a charity that works with communities and know that our independence from the police reassures those who might otherwise never come forward.
“If you recognise any of the signs mentioned, do contact Crimestoppers 100% anonymously. No detail is too small and you could make a big difference in keeping your community safe. Things to tell our charity include: names and/or nicknames; descriptions of those involved and any distinguishing features such as tattoos; addresses, transport used, i.e., a car - a car’s make, model and registration.
“We don’t want to know who you are, just what you know.”
Detective Inspector Hazel Sandall from Leicestershire Police said; “Talking about exploitation, violence and the impact of drugs on people’s lives can be difficult and it can be hard to know where and whom to turn to. Crimestoppers helps Leicestershire Police understand what worries and concerns communities have, by helping the public pass information on anonymously. We would encourage anyone who believes they know something about crime in their area, no matter how small it seems, to help us join the dots together. Your information is vital in helping us to safeguard you, those you care about and the community.”