69 arrests made and over £250,000 cash seized by Merseyside Police during week of action against county lines
2 weeks ago
Merseyside Police continued its crackdown on County Lines drug dealing during the national County Lines Intensification Week (27 February – 5 March), aimed at putting criminals on the back foot.
The Project Medusa team – which provides the daily force response to county lines – worked alongside partners and other forces from across the UK to dismantle and disrupt criminal gangs.
The activity was carried out as part of a national intensification week and included warrants, visits to vulnerable people and joint operations with Devon and Cornwall, North Wales, West Mercia and Lancashire.
Since 2019, Project Medusa officers – who are recognised nationally as a leading force in tackling county lines – have closed 842 county lines; arrested more than 2,200 people for offences including drug supply, firearms and money laundering; and identified 1,186 children and vulnerable adults who have been referred to safeguarding services.
Project Medusa, funded by the Home Office, is a Merseyside-led initiative set up to tackle County Lines drug dealing and the criminal exploitation of young people and vulnerable adults.
During the week of action:
- 69 arrests and 29 charges were made
- Six County Lines were shut down
- 481 wraps of crack cocaine; 386 wraps of heroin; 65 wraps of cocaine; 2kg of cannabis and 500,000 illicit Class B and Class C prescription tablets were recovered during warrants and other activity
- More than £250,000 cash was recovered
- Officers recovered weapons including a firearm, lock knives and a metal baton
- Officers recovered approximately £100,000 of illegally imported cigarettes and approximately £20,000 worth of designer clothing and watches
- Officers were involved with the safeguarding of 84 people
Deputy Chief Constable Ian Critchley said:
“Intimidation, fear, coercion and threats of violence are just some of the realities for a child, or vulnerable person, being exploited by criminals involved in county lines. Project Medusa is our dedicated response to county lines and since 2019 we have reduced the number of Merseyside County Lines by 50 per cent with the closure of 842 lines and arrested more than 2,200 people for various offences including drug supply, firearms offences and money laundering. We are relentless in taking these people out of circulation and making our streets safer for our communities.
“We are passionate about the work we are doing in this area and are nationally recognised for the impact we have had on county lines both within Merseyside but also in other parts of the country. My message to those involved in serious organised crime is clear – we will never rest on our laurels and we are relentless in our pursuit of those involved.”
Superintendent Martin Earl said:
“Project Medusa and teams across the force are working to tackle County Lines drug dealing, day in, day out. Our involvement in this national week of action is just a snapshot of the work we do all year round.
“There is no doubt that the additional activity we have carried out will have further disrupted organised crime groups and county lines drug dealing. We’ve had a successful week of intensification with a significant amount of drugs taken off our streets, weapons recovered and 69 arrests made.
“As a force we are committed to working alongside partners and other forces to close these County Lines and protect vulnerable people. We will relentlessly target those crime groups who cowardly exploit vulnerable people in our communities.
“We thank the public who share information with us about drug dealing or any vulnerability they see, this intelligence is vital to protecting our communities. It’s important everyone who cares for or knows a young and/or vulnerable person can spot the warning signs. You can visit the Eyes Open campaign to learn more and tell us if something doesn’t feel right.”
Read more here about the Eyes Open campaign HERE.
You can also report any concerns to police on 999 if a crime is in progress, via 101, or our social media desk via Twitter @MerPolCC.
You can also pass information via Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or via their online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org
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