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Drug users have been stopped and commuters spoken to as part of a joint county lines operation at Derby Train Station today.
The aim of the operation was to raise awareness of people who use the railway network to transport illegal substances across the county.
County lines gangs often use children and vulnerable people to courier drugs and money into Derby, or other towns in Derbyshire, setting them up in houses where the drugs are then dealt from.
Today our officers, working with British Transport Police and a drugs dog and handler from Nottinghamshire Police, stopped 16 people at the station when PD Ross indicated they may have come into contact with drugs.
Officers issued cannabis warnings to two men after they admitted carrying small amounts of the drug and the cannabis was seized and destroyed.
One man was interviewed on a voluntary basis for possessing cannabis.
Officers handed out hundreds of leaflets at the station, encouraging people to look for the signs of exploitation among the young and vulnerable when using trains and report any suspicions to the police.
PC Laura Richmond, from the County Lines Disruption Team, was involved in the operation. She said: “We know that county lines gangs use the rail network to transport drugs, grooming vulnerable people and using them as couriers.
“Today’s operation was about raising awareness of this issue among commuters and telling them what signs they need to look out for.
“This is the first time we have run an operation like this at the train station and I’m pleased with how successful it was. We will work with our colleagues from BTP to run this again in the future.”
Detective Inspector Than Ly from BTP said: “We know that County Lines drug dealers are increasingly using the railway to courier drugs and cash across the country, and we have a new County Lines taskforce dedicated to tackling these drug gangs and their exploitation of vulnerable young people.
"Operations like this are crucial in our efforts to disrupt this sort of activity, and it’s one of many taking place at transport hubs across England, Scotland and Wales every day. It’s important to remember that passengers are our eyes and ears too and we’d always ask anyone who has any information or concerns to text us on 61016.”
People who travel regularly by train are encouraged to look for these signs:
• Have you seen a child, sometimes as young as 12, travelling alone?
• Are they travelling during school hours, or unusual hours for a youngster to be away from home, such as early in the morning or late at night?
• Do they travel on the same route regularly, like once or twice a week?
• Are they receiving an excessive number of texts or phone calls?
• Are they with someone older who is buying their tickets or giving them money for tickets?
• Are they deliberately avoiding authority figures, such as police officers or railway staff?
If you are travelling by train and you want to report any suspicions, you can text British Transport Police on 61016 or call 0800 40 50 40.
You can contact our County Lines Disruption Team on [email protected] or call 0300 122 8911.