Police call on East Devon residents to support the fight against drugs couriers

PUBLISHED: 11:58 24 September 2020 | UPDATED: 12:02 24 September 2020

Know the signs of county lines - graphic D&C Police

Know the signs of county lines - graphic D&C Police


Police in East Devon are urging people to ‘know the signs of county lines’.

Axminster PCSO Chris Bolsover. Picture DCPAxminster PCSO Chris Bolsover. Picture DCP

In a message to residents Axminster Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Chris Bolsover says despite ongoing restrictions, drug dealers are still operating in the area.

Gangs exploit children and vulnerable adults to make them courier drugs and money across the country from their bases to customers in towns across Devon and Cornwall.

The ‘county line’ refers to the mobile phone line which is the link for the drugs gangs to sell drugs.

PCSO Bolsover said: “Sometimes drug dealers will befriend a vulnerable person who lives on their own and take over their home and turn it into a drugs den. This is called ‘cuckooing’.

“Urban dealers often target homes of vulnerable people in small, rural and coastal towns where they can set up shop and sell drugs.

“Help us keep everyone safe. Report drug dealing or any other suspicious activity through our online contact channels. Or you can report, 100 per cent anonymously, to Crimestoppers.”

Possible signs of a child or young person being involved in county lines exploitation are:

Going missing from school or home.

Significant changes in their emotional well-being.

Meeting unfamiliar people.

Changes in their behaviour.

The use of drugs and alcohol.

Acquiring money or expensive gifts they can’t account for.

Relationships with controlling or older individuals or associated with gangs.

Suspicion of self-harm, physical assault or unexplained injuries.

Signs of cuckooing include:

A neighbour has not been seen for a while.

Unknown or suspicious looking people coming and going from a neighbour’s house at odd times of the day or night.

Suspicious vehicles parked outside a house.

To provide information or report anything suspicious:

email 101 or contact police using the non-emergency channels -

call Crimestoppers, 100per cent anonymously on 0800 555 111 or report via the online form on their website - https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/forms/give-information-anonymously

Other agencies that can help include

Fearless - a website at https://www.fearless.org/ where young people can access non-judgemental information and advice about crime and criminality.

Childline - a free, private and confidential service where children and young people can talk about anything. Call 0800 111 or visit https://www.childline.org.uk/

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