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County Lines

County Lines

'County Lines' is the term used to describe a form of organised crime where criminals, often based in urban areas, pressurise vulnerable young people and adults to transport, store and sell drugs into other markets such as smaller county towns. It takes its name from the dedicated mobile phone lines (‘deal lines’) used by organised crime gangs to communicate between locations.
 
Crime groups recruit and exploit children and vulnerable young people to courier drugs and cash. Typically, users ask for drugs via the mobile phone line used by the group. Couriers travel between the crime group's base and then set-up locations on a regular basis to collect cash and deliver drugs. These crime groups recruit children and young people through deception, intimidation, violence, debt bondage and/or grooming. This can involve children being trafficked away from their home area, staying in accommodation (e.g. AirBnb’s, private rentals or budget hotels) and selling and manufacturing drugs.
 
Gangs also use local properties as a base for their activities, and this often involves taking over the home of a vulnerable adult who is unable to challenge them - referred to as ‘Cuckooing’.