County Lines

County Lines

‘County Lines’ is a term used when drug gangs from big cities expand their operations to smaller towns, often using violence to drive out local dealers and exploiting children and vulnerable people to sell drugs.

These dealers will use dedicated mobile phone lines, known as 'deal lines', to take orders from drug users. Heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine are the most common drugs being supplied and ordered. In most instances, the users or customers will live in a different area from where the dealers and networks are based, so drug runners are needed to transport the drugs and collect payment.

Some signs to look out for include:

  • An increase in visitors and cars to a house or flat

  • New faces appearing at the house or flat

  • New and regularly changing residents (e.g different accents compared to local accent

  • Change in resident's mood and/or demeanour (e.g. secretive/ withdrawn/ aggressive/ emotional)

  • Substance misuse and/or drug paraphernalia

  • Changes in the way young people you might know dress

  • Unexplained, sometimes unaffordable new things (e.g clothes, jewellery, cars etc)

  • Residents or young people you know going missing, maybe for long periods of time

  • Young people seen in different cars/taxis driven by unknown adults

  • Young people seeming unfamiliar with your community or where they are

  • Truancy, exclusion, disengagement from school

  • An increase in anti-social behaviour in the community

  • Unexplained injuries

Please look at these websites for further information:

County Lines Guidance

County Lines Guidance

County Lines expert Peter Wilson, retired from the Metropolitan Police Trident Command, shares with us information and advice about child criminal exploitation (CCE) and the grooming of young people into drug gangs.
County Lines - A Guide from The Children's Society

County Lines - A Guide from The Children's Society