POLICE are urging people in Warwickshire to help them in the fight against county lines drug crime.
So-called county lines gangs, from big cities such Birmingham, Liverpool and London – target smaller towns where their faces are not so familiar to police.
The highly-organised city gangs identify drug users or other vulnerable people in target towns and send ‘runners’ to take over their homes – often children as young as 14 – to enable them to deal at street level.
Warwickshire Police has a number of operations running aimed at disrupting county lines drug dealing and bringing gang members to justice.
Det Ch Insp Neil Reader said: “Your information could be the missing piece of the jigsaw.
“The problem of county lines is not one we can solve on our own; the public are our eyes and ears in the community.
“Many of the warrants we execute and the arrests we make are a result of information provided by the public. We act on all the information provided; while we can’t always respond immediately to reports, each piece of information helps us to build up a better intelligence picture and get a better idea of who is offending in our communities.
“Trust your instincts and please don’t ignore the signs.”
Police are urging people to look out for the following signs:
* Children or young people going missing from home or school.
* Changes in behaviour.
* Children or young people socialising with unfamiliar people.
* Someone starting to abuse drugs and alcohol.
* Someone with money they can’t account for.
* Someone buying expensive goods they can’t afford.
* Lone children visiting from outside the area.
* Someone with multiple phones, tablets or SIM cards.
* Unknown people going into a neighbour’s house – especially if they are vulnerable.
Anyone with information or concerns is urged to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.