Devon and Cornwall Police have seized more than £90,000 worth of drugs as part of the sixth Operation Scorpion campaign to disrupt drug-related crime across the region.

They say they have protected 10 children and six vulnerable adults as a result of the operation last week which concentrated on what’s called ‘county lines.’ In county lines operations, children or vulnerable people are often coerced by gangs to transport drugs.

Thirty-six people were arrested and £54,000 in cash seized from drug dealers.

Operation Scorpion is a combined effort by police forces across Devon and Cornwall, Wiltshire, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Avon and Somerset to tackle cross border drugs supply, drug related crime and anti-social behaviour.

Devon and Cornwall police and crime commissioner Alison Hernandez said the main focus this time was the journey of drugs through the region and child exploitation.

“Not only are we taking drugs off the streets but we are also able to identify some of those people who are absolutely being exploited in this process, and protect them, they can be children or people with learning disabilities and vulnerable adults.”

“I am pleased to say that we have protected ten children and six adults this time and disrupted 36 elements of drug dealing, with 36 arrests.”

Assistant chief constable Steve Parker said Devon and Cornwall had been a successful part of the operation and that a wide spectrum of drugs were seized, including heroin, cocaine and cannabis. A lot of traffic resources were used to help stop checks, targeting vehicles suspected of carrying drugs as they came into Devon and Cornwall.

Operation Scorpion started last year and was led on this occasion by Wiltshire, with Devon and Cornwall playing a part. Police will focus on the evening and night-time economy and anti-social behaviour in two more phases over the next months.

Up to 30 officers from the specialist task forces like road policing teams and road crime units were involved in the operation supported by neighbourhood policing and patrol officers.

Police want people to come forward with information of any suspicious activity so they can gather intelligence for the next operation.

“A lot of the information that is given to police about drug dealing is from people who know the ins and outs of what is going on so that is why we are promoting Crimestoppers,” added Ms Hernandez.

“We want people to report it anonymously, without fear and any retribution, and they can do that on 0800 555 111 or online.”