14 arrested in crackdown on organised crime gangs exploiting children and vulnerable adults
Date published: 27 May 2021
Photo: Greater Manchester Police
The 14 arrests by Greater Manchester Police come as part of National Week of Action to help tackle County Lines
Fourteen people have been arrested in Greater Manchester as over £7,000 worth of Class A drugs have been seized in a crackdown on organised crime gangs exploiting children and vulnerable adults.
The 14 arrests by GMP come as part of National Week of Action to help tackle County Lines, when organised crime gangs exploit children and vulnerable people, forcing them to move or store drugs, drugs money and weapons through cohesion, control and intimidation.
The criminal gangs will use a dedicated phone line to organise the movement and sale of the drugs, which can be in one area, or across different parts of the UK.
Teams from GMP executed 15 warrants, made 14 arrests and seized over £7,000 worth of Class A drugs, and 3.5kg Class B drugs. In addition to targeting those behind these crimes, three victims were identified, and 26 safeguarding referrals were submitted for those at risk of being exploited, aged between two and 46.
Detective Inspector Julie Adams from GMP's Public Protection Serious Crime Division said: "The results from this week of action speak volumes, and highlight our commitment to tackling organised crime, and protecting the most vulnerable members of our society.
"Victims of exploitation often aren't what meets the eye, so I would encourage everyone to know the signs to look out for, and make a report if you have any suspicions. You really could be a lifeline for a victim, and help people realise there is a way out and support is very much available.
"Lastly, I would like to add that I hope this sends a clear message to gangs operating across any district in Greater Manchester, and also those who are sending children and young people into our districts. We work closely with forces across the country and continue to share intelligence with one another.
"Our message is clear; while exploitation of children and vulnerable adults is taking place, we will be coming after you."
Signs of criminal exploitation and county lines include:
- Unexplained gifts and cash
- Drug paraphernalia
- More than one phone (often known as a graft phone)
- Lots of travel tickets such as bus and train tickets
- New friendship groups
- Increased missing from home episodes
- Secretive or withdrawn from family and/or friends
- Lying - unable to retell a story without confusion or holes in the story
- Receiving excessive calls or messages from ‘new friends’
- Getting picked up or dropped off by unknown people
To follow the week of action, GMP will also holding a question and answer session with the public on Thursday 3 June, between 6-8pm on the main GMP Facebook page.
The Q&A will offer a safe space to talk about Child Criminal Exploitation, with the opportunity for anyone to ask questions, and access help and support.
Details will be posted on Facebook in the coming days, and questions can be submitted in advance, and entirely anonymously.
Anyone with questions or concerns is encouraged to get in touch, either through the Q&A or by making a report to the police (dial 101, use GMP LiveChat or the online reporting facility), or independent charity Crimestoppers (dial 0800 555 111).
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