We’ve launched a campaign to highlight the pain and suffering that criminals from urban areas are inflicting on vulnerable people in our cities and rural communities.
The campaign aims to raise awareness of County Lines, which is when criminals from major cities such as Liverpool, Manchester, London and Birmingham are expanding their drug networks to other areas, bringing with them serious criminal behaviour such as violence, exploitation and abuse.
The term refers to the use of a single telephone number to order drugs, operated from outside the area.
This is having a massive impact on rural counties, and also on vulnerable children and adults who are being recruited in our large cities to transport cash and drugs all over the country, so that the criminals behind it can remain detached and less likely to be detected.
They often set up a base in a rural area for a short time, taking over the home of a vulnerable person, and use both adults and children to act as drug runners.
Whilst significant arrests have been made, we need the help of the public to disrupt these criminal networks and stop the misery they cause, as well as safeguarding many vulnerable adults and children who have been coerced into these activities.
Dave Hunter, Crimestoppers' Head of Operations, said: “County Lines isn’t necessarily a term people are familiar with, but as a charity it’s important we raise awareness of this issue and tackle it.
“Gangs coming in from other areas only add to any existing drug-related issues, so we are asking anyone who has information to contact us, safe in the knowledge nobody will know you have done so.
“We won’t judge or ask any personal details. All we want to know is what you know, and you’ll remain 100% anonymous. Always.”
If you have any information on those from cities who have recently travelled or moved into an area to set up a drugs network and who may be using violence or abuse to carry out their activities, Crimestoppers is here as an independent charity to take your information.