Dawn raids lead to County Lines arrests

At 6am this morning, officers from Merseyside Police’s Project Medusa and Wigan’s Challenger Organised Crime teams made three arrests following warrants at properties across Wigan and Merseyside in connection with a suspected county lines criminal network.

The warrants were conducted in relation to an investigation into the supply of Class A drugs by an organised crime group operating the ‘Scouse Jonno’ County Line between Liverpool and Wigan.

This operation identified one of the addresses may have been subject to cuckooing, which is where an organised crime group exploits a vulnerable person, using their house as a drugs den. This morning’s activity has enabled safeguarding interventions to be put in place to protect those who could be vulnerable.

A search of three addresses – Alder Avenue in Wigan, Victoria Road in Formby and Mount Road in Kirkby uncovered a cultivation of cannabis plants, cannabis, mobile phones and approximately £2,000 in cash.

A 44-year-old man from Wigan, a 32-year-old man from Formby and a 35-year-old man from Kirkby have been arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs.

They have been taken to a police station in Merseyside where they remain in custody.

Detective Sergeant Peter Sloan from Merseyside Police said, “Merseyside’s Operation Toxic, as part of Project Medusa, continues to work closely with forces and other agencies to shut County Lines down.

“Today’s operation with GMP shows that we will relentlessly target those crime groups who cowardly exploit vulnerable people in our communities.

“Our work to remove these people from our streets and bring them to justice will continue on a daily basis and I would ask anyone who has information about this kind of activity to come forward so action can be taken.”

Detective Superintendent Simon Hurst who is leading Wigan’s Challenger Organised Crime Team said, “This morning we’ve taken further action to tackle the criminal gangs operating across Wigan and Merseyside. As well as making a number of arrests and seizing drugs, we’ve been able to collect valuable intelligence and safeguard a vulnerable man/woman from further exploitation.

“Criminals don’t operate to borders and neither should we. By working with colleagues in neighbouring forces and a number of local authorities, we can combine intelligence and skills to protect the community and prevent further criminality.”

Anyone who has any information about County Lines drug dealing in their area or anyone who is concerned about someone who may be being exploited by these gangs can contact @CrimestoppersUK completely anonymously on 0800 555 111 or contact 101.

In an emergency always contact 999.

Image: Merseyside Police

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