Project Medusa snares thousands of pounds worth of drugs in major County Lines operation - 46 arrested


Officers from five different forces have joined together to target those involved in County Lines from Merseyside into Lancashire, Cumbria and Scotland.

Yesterday 46 people were arrested for various drugs offences.

Together they carried out raids at addresses of those believed to be involved in County Lines drugs supply, whilst at the same time targeting County Lines offenders using the railway, bus stations and the motorway network spanning from Merseyside to the Scottish borders. Police in Scotland were also on hand at Aberdeen Airport to bring offenders back down to earth and face the reality of their criminality.

Yesterday's operation, code named “Project Medusa”, is a Merseyside-led initiative, which saw 11 warrants executed across each of the four force areas (four in Merseyside (Stockbridge Village Old Swan, Netherton and Toxteth), five in Lancashire (Preston, Morecambe, Lancaster and Blackpool), one in Cumbria (Workington) and one in Scotland (Perth). 

Officers arrested 36 people on Merseyside; five from Lancashire; two in Cumbria and officers from British Transport Police arrested three people on the rail network.

The operation follows three successful Project Medusa operations conducted by Merseyside Police with other force areas including Cumbria, Cheshire, Staffordshire, Northumbria and North Wales where a number of arrests and seizures of drugs, weapons and mobile phones were carried out along with a number of stop searches.

At the end of January Home Secretary Priti Patel joined officers on Merseyside as warrants were executed and a total of 16 people were arrested and 87 stop searches were carried out around the North West and North Wales.

Talking about today’s activity, ACC Ian Critchley said: "We have seen considerable success through this kind of targeted action in recent months and weeks and it is vital that we keep up this level of activity. As a result of the activity yesterday 46 people were arrested for various drugs offences and five vulnerable young people were referred for safeguarding

"Those responsible for these County Lines bring misery to our local communities through their drug dealing and they also target and coerce young and vulnerable people into doing their dirty work. 

"Project Medusa, hits the criminals hard, but when it comes to the young and vulnerable people, who have been criminally exploited, we ensure that they are treated sensitively and with understanding.

"We are determined to sever the County Lines that blight our communities."

Detective Chief Inspector Becky Smith of Lancashire Police, said: "Every day we are working pro-actively to gather intelligence and carry out operations to both target county lines drug dealers and to identify those at risk from this type of criminality.

“Working cross border with other police forces and a range of other agencies is key in disrupting and dismantling county lines and putting offenders behind bars. We are sending out a strong message that this criminality activity will not be tolerated and that we will continue to work together with our partners and regional forces to disrupt anyone involved in county lines and bring them to justice.

“To do this we need intelligence coming from our communities to alert us to potential drugs activity so that we can investigate and bring organised gangs to justice, as well as safeguarding people, particularly children, who have been exploited and are victims."

Home Secretary, Priti Patel, said: "I’ve seen first hand the vital work the police are doing to disrupt county lines gangs and it’s great to see them continuing to deliver these impressive results.

“The police will always have my full support, and we will continue to bolster their ranks with 20,000 extra police officers.

“I will not tolerate these abhorrent gangs that exploit children and vulnerable people and we will do everything in our power to tackle this issue head on.”

Detective Inspector Patrick McDonnell of Cumbria Police, said: "County lines is an exploitive type of drug supply that devastates local communities. The actions of today’s Project Medusa sends a strong message that we are determined to tackle it. Working together with other forces cross border is vital in ensuring that we catch the criminals involved right the way up from the lowest level to the people at the top of the chain.

"Today is about showing drug dealers that the police will do all in our power to bring them to justice and in relation to anyone tempted to use or addicted to illegal drugs - please do not get involved with these criminals and seek medical help.

"If you feel that you or someone you know is being targeted by drug dealers or you have any information which may help, please contact the police on 101 or 999.”

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Little Ireland | Cleator Moor | Cumbria: Project Medusa snares thousands of pounds worth of drugs in major County Lines operation - 46 arrested
Project Medusa snares thousands of pounds worth of drugs in major County Lines operation - 46 arrested
Little Ireland | Cleator Moor | Cumbria
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