55 arrests in police week of action disrupting county lines drug gangs

Essex Police made 55 arrests in a week aimed at disrupting county lines drugs gangs

Essex Police made 55 arrests in a week aimed at disrupting county lines drugs gangs - Credit: Essex Police

Police have made 55 arrests and taken more than 6kg of drugs off the Essex streets as part of a week of action aimed at disrupting county lines gangs.

Essex Police's County Lines Intensification Week, which was held last week, seized about £180,000 in cash as part of a series of raids throughout the county.

Of the arrests made by the Op Raptor team, which tackles drug supply in Essex, 39 people were charged, 13 people were released under investigation and three people were released without charge, while 10 people were referred for safeguarding.

Police seized £180,000 in cash in the week

Police seized £180,000 in cash in the week - Credit: Essex Police

Essex Police said the week of action disrupted 13 county lines drugs gangs.

The arrests were made across the county and into London and other parts of the East of England, including in Colchester, Clacton, Southend, Westcliff, Leigh, Basildon, Grays, Harlow, Chelmsford, Dagenham, Barking, Chingford, Aveley, Enfield and Bedford.

The arrests were made by Essex Police's Op Raptor team

The arrests were made by Essex Police's Op Raptor team - Credit: Essex Police

Among the items seized included:

  • £180,000
  • 2.5kg of crack cocaine
  • 2.5kg of heroin
  • 56g of cocaine
  • 1.6kg of cannabis
  • 17 MDMA pills
  • 84 phone lines, including 9 county line phones
  • £2,500 in designer clothing, bags and hats
  • 2 knuckle dusters,
  • 2 samurai swords
  • 1 sword
  • 1 zombie knife
  • 1 hunting knife
  • 1 large knife
  • 1 machete

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Over the county border, Suffolk police's week of disrupting county lines gangs in May saw 29 people arrested and about £12,700 in cash seized.

Acting Detective Superintendent Lewis Basford, of the Essex Police Serious Violence Unit, paid tribute to the officers for their work last week, calling them "specialists in their fields".

Police raiding a property in Southend

Police raiding a property in Southend - Credit: Essex Police

He said: "Although our work did intensify during County Lines Intensification Week, the role our Op Raptor teams perform is very a much a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week one.

"The work they put into finding county lines, investigating them, establishing who is behind them and then building cases against those people should not be underestimated.

"But our teams are specialists in their fields. They are experts in case building, which means our suspects will not know that an overwhelming case is quietly being built against them so they can be put before the courts."