Hampshire Incidents

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Police operation fortress a success after disrupting county lines gangs in Portsmouth

Police have today released information after a successful week of operation fortress.

Officers wanted to update everyone on what they did in Portsmouth for CountyLines Intensification Week, which took place nationally last week:

Specialist officers in Portsmouth supporting a national week of action to disrupt and tackle County Lines drug dealing have ended the week with a large quantity of Class A drugs seized and a number of arrests following a week of dedicated proactive police work.

County Lines Intensification Week ran from Monday 11 October to Sunday 17 October this year and saw officers in the city arrest 15 people in connection with County Lines activity, as well as seizing cash, weapons and Class A drugs thought to be worth more than £20,000 across the week.

County Lines is a term used to describe organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs out of bigger cities into smaller towns and cities 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.

During the week we have also disrupted four County Line networks and seized their deal lines and conducted a number of warrants in both Gosport and Liverpool. Examples of the work done by Portsmouth’s High Harm team during the intensification week include:

• On Monday 11 October officers carrying out proactive patrols witnessed a suspected drug deal taking place on Landport Terrace. Subsequent enquiries led them to an address on Landport Terrace where a 29-year-old man from Portsmouth and a 34-year-old man from Southampton were arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of cocaine.

They have both been released under investigation while our enquiries continue. Officers conducted a search of an address on Landport Terrace under Section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act.

More than £430 in cash, two mobile phones and drug paraphernalia were seized from the address. A mountain bike worth nearly £3000 and believed to be stolen was also recovered from the address. An investigation is ongoing.

• On Wednesday 13 October officers conducting County Lines patrols witnessed what they believed to be a drug deal on Fratton Road. A 22-year-old man from Portsmouth was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of a Class A drug and acquiring/using/possessing criminal property.

He has been released on police bail while our enquiries continue. Officers conducted a search of an address on Stanhope Road under Section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act, revealing almost £2000 in cash, a large quantity of suspected Class A drugs initially thought to be worth around £20,000, drug paraphernalia and a number of mobile phones.
An investigation is ongoing.

Portsmouth’s High Harm Team Inspector Scott Johnson said: “County Lines drug dealing and the associated exploitation of vulnerable people is a priority for us here in Portsmouth. We want to ensure that this city is a hostile environment for those taking part in drug-related criminal activity.

“County Lines and local drug networks cause misery for our communities. There is a strong link between drugs and violence and we have made significant efforts to understand the impact of those involved in County Lines on violence and other crime that spills into our neighbourhoods.

“While this intensification week has shone a spotlight on those running these toxic drug networks, we will continue to keep up the pressure on those known locally to us as being involved in this kind of activity all year-long.

“We would like to hear from anyone who believes drug-related activity is taking place in their local area. Contact us on 101 or make a report 100% anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Alternatively, you can also visit Fearless.org.”

? Spotting the signs ?

Police encourage our communities to spot the signs that someone might be involved in drugs supply, and to report any suspicious activity to us via 101, the Hampshire Constabulary website or Crimestoppers where reports can be made 100% anonymously.

Some of the things to look out for and consider include:

• Do you know someone who is always going missing from school or their home?
• Are they travelling alone to places far away from home?
• Do they suddenly have lots of money/lots of new clothes/new mobile phones?
• Are they receiving much more calls or texts than usual?
• Are they carrying or selling drugs?
• Are they carrying weapons or know people that have access to weapons?
• Are they in a relationship with or hanging out with someone/people that are older and controlling?
• Do they have unexplained injuries?
• Do they seem very reserved or seem like they have something to hide?
• Do they seem scared?
• Are they self-harming?