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Two men charged in latest county lines crackdown

15 Jan 2021

Two men have been charged in the latest crackdown on organised crime in Bedfordshire, targeting county lines, drugs supply and modern slavery.

On Monday (11 January), two men were arrested on conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, possession of Class B drugs, robbery, and forced labour. Both men were subsequently charged and remanded in custody.

County lines typically involves drugs gangs selling their products in other towns using a dedicated phone line. These gangs are often linked to serious violence and intimidation, grooming and exploiting young people to run drug dealing networks across the country.

Detective Inspector Mark Pugh, the force operational lead for drugs, county lines and serious violence said: “After a lot of hard work and intelligence gathering, this is step forward in tackling organised crime in Bedfordshire. Organised crime is a priority for the force and we will endeavour to crack down on those responsible.

“Drugs supply drives the county lines model of Class A and B dealing, which unfortunately incorporates the use of violence and exploitation of children and other vulnerable people to supply drugs at a local level.

“As we continue to carry out targeted operations and proactive work, we are encouraging our communities to support us and share any information with us about drugs, county lines and organised crime in their area.”

Detective Superintendent Duncan Young added: “The fact we have managed to secure charges for requiring a person to perform forced or compulsory labour charge in relation to county lines and organised crime is significant for Bedfordshire Police.

“This isn’t just a first for Bedfordshire Police, it is also a serious barrier nationally, as we seek to change the culture around serious youth violence and criminal exploitation. It is imperative we apply such legislation effectively and this is therefore a big step forward.

“I hope these charges act as a deterrent for this type of criminality, but we also hope this gives victims of exploitation the confidence to come forward in the know that they will be supported.”

Anyone with information about drug dealing, county lines or child criminal exploitation can contact Bedfordshire Police on 101 or via the force’s online reporting centre. 

All of these reports are fed into police intelligence systems and can help officers build up a better picture of organised crime.

You can also report information anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

For more information or support about getting out of a gang, please visit bedsveru.org 

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