‘County Lines’ is a term used when drug gangs from big cities expand their operations to smaller towns, often using violence to drive out local dealers and exploiting children and vulnerable people to sell drugs. These dealers will use dedicated mobile phone lines, known as ‘deal lines’, to take orders from drug users. Heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine are the most common drugs being supplied and ordered. In most instances, the users or customers will live in a different area to where the dealers and networks are based, so drug runners are needed to transport the drugs and collect payment.
What to do if you have concerns
- The best advice is to trust your instincts. Even if someone isn’t involved in county lines drug dealing, they may be being exploited in some other way, so it’s always worth speaking out.
- You can speak to your local police by dialling 101, or in an emergency 999.
- If you would rather remain anonymous, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
- If you notice something linked to the railways, you can report concerns to the British Transport Police by texting 61016 from your mobile. In an emergency dial 999.
If you are a young person who is worried about your involvement, or a friend’s involvement in county lines
- A good option is to speak to an adult you trust and talk to them about your concerns.
- You can also call Childline on 0800 1111. Childline is private and confidential service where you can talk to specially trained counsellors about anything that is worrying you.
- Alternatively, speak to a children and young people’s service like Catch 22. They work with children and young people of any age to help get them out of situations they’re worried about, and have helped lots of children and young people involved in County Lines.