Students at Hartlepool secondary school learn lesson of county lines drug dealing dangers
Police spoke to school leavers in Hartlepool about the dangers of drug dealing and exploitation during a week of action.
Town neighbourhood officer PC Geoff Coggin delivered a presentation about county lines to Year 11 students at High Tunstall College of Science.
County lines refers to the trafficking of drugs through networks from major cities to smaller towns and rural areas and often involved the recruitment of vulnerable young people.
It was part of a week of action against county lines and also Operation Endeavour by Cleveland Police which has seen a number of raids and other initiatives carried out to disrupt serious and organised crime.
Pc Coggin said: “It was an excellent session and I’m glad I got to speak to around 300 students.
“Our current Operation Endeavour is all about tackling serious and organised crime and it was good to be able to raise awareness of the issues with the students before they left school.
“I’d like to wish them all the best for their future and to thank Mr Turner, PSHE (personal, social, health and economic) Head, for inviting me.”
Cleveland Police joined local authorities, housing providers and other agencies in the week of action against county lines to reassure communities they are doing all they can to protect those most at risk of getting drawn into it.
The force’s Criminal Exploitation Team (CET) co-ordinated a range of activity including 17 drug warrants which resulted in 15 people, including four juveniles were arrested and several others safeguarded and referred to support services.
Vehicles suspected of being used for crime or exploitation were targeted and Barnardo’s hosted a webinar for around 150 parents.
Safeguarding Chief Inspector Shaun Page from CET said: “I’d like to thank all the teams involved as well as our partner agencies who worked with us to achieve these results.
“Everyone in our communities has their part to play too – it’s vital that we all work together to safeguard and protect vulnerable or young people who are at risk of becoming involved.
“Similarly, our work sends a clear message that we will work tirelessly to identify and deal with anyone seeking to exploit others by forcing them into a criminal lifestyle.”
People can report concerns about county lines to Cleveland Police by calling 101.