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What is a county line?

Young and vulnerable people living in our communities are being exploited by drugs gangs. It’s happening right now. And we need your help to protect them.

County lines gangs based in cities like London are targeting the most vulnerable people in small towns across the country to sell class A drugs on their behalf.

These people are exploited and threatened with violence. This type of behaviour is a significant threat to our communities and will not be tolerated. But we need your help to spot the signs and act on your concerns. Your voice will be heard and will make a difference.

What does county lines mean?

County lines is a term used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs into one or more importing areas in the UK, using dedicated mobile phone lines or other form of ‘deal line’. They are likely to exploit children and vulnerable adults to move and store the drugs and money, and they will often use coercion, intimidation, violence and weapons. Gangs based in cities like London are targeting the most vulnerable people in small towns across the country to sell class A drugs on their behalf.

What are we doing to tackle county lines?

Operation Tarak is the South West region’s response to tackling county lines criminality. The campaign aims to protect the most vulnerable in society, whether that be adults or children, from the exploitation of drugs gangs. We will work closely with partner agencies to identify those at risk, identify the perpetrators, disrupt the enterprises and bring offenders to justice.

What can you do to help?

We need you to help us tackle county lines criminality by spotting the signs and reporting drug dealing or exploitation of a vulnerable person. Many people would not recognise the signs of drug dealing in their area. By raising awareness, we hope more people will feel comfortable in reporting information to the police. Your call could save lives.


  • Has a child or young person gone missing from school or home?
  • Are they meeting with unfamiliar adults?
  • Have you noticed a change in their behaviour?
  • Are they using drugs and alcohol?
  • Has there been a breakdown in relationships with family and friends?

This could be a sign that they are being coerced and controlled to commit crime. Call 101 to report it.


Drug dealers will often take over the homes of vulnerable people as they use it as a base to deal drugs in the area. The vulnerable person may be being kept inside against their will.

  • Have you noticed more people calling at an address? Sometimes at unsociable hours?
  • Have you noticed a neighbour has not been seen for a while?
  • Are there suspicious smells coming from an address?
  • Are there suspicious or unfamiliar vehicles outside the address?

Cuckooing could be taking place. Look out for your neighbours and report suspicions to 101.

Crime Stoppers - 0800 555 111

You can give information anonymously to Crime Stoppers and your privacy is 100% guaranteed.
Crime Stoppers is not the police. They are an independent charity working to help communities.
They even pay cash if the information you provide leads to an arrest or is of significant use you will be rewarded.