Do you know about County Lines?

Alert message sent 09/03/2022 08:18:00

Information sent on behalf of Staffordshire Police


The term County Lines describes gangs and organised criminal networks involved with moving illegal drugs into other areas of the country, often smaller areas, using dedicated mobile phone lines known as 'deal lines.'

Dealers will take orders from drug users through mobile phones and take advantage of children and vulnerable people to move and store drugs and money. Often they do this through blackmail, intimidation and violence.


Children and vulnerable people can be groomed online or face-to-face by a stranger or someone they know. They can receive money, mobiles, credit, expensive clothing, jewellery, or other items/gifts in exchange for a specific task.


Cuckooing is a form of county lines crimes in which drug dealers take over the home of a vulnerable person in order to take advantage of them and use it as a base for drug dealing.

(Common signs to look out for which could indicate that a person is involved in County Lines and possible drug dealing).

- Change in emotional wellbeing (e.g. secretive, withdrawn, aggressive, emotional)
- An increase in anti-social behaviour.
- Missing episodes from home or school.
- Receiving more texts or calls than usual.
- Substance misuse and/or drug paraphernalia.
- Unexplained, sometimes unaffordable new things (e.g. clothes, jewellery, cash)
- Isolation from friends.
- May be carrying a weapon.
- Unexplained injuries

The following signs suggest that someone could be a victim of cuckooing:

- An increase in anti-social behaviour.
- Other people seen inside the house or flat who don't normally live there.
- People coming and going from the property at all hours.
- More taxis and cars than usual appearing at the property.
- Not seeing the person who lives there as frequently.
- When you do see the occupant, they may appear anxious or distracted.
- Seeing drugs paraphernalia near to the property.


If you are worried that someone is at immediate risk or harm contact 999.


Staffordshire Police - Private message us on Facebook and Twitter or call 101.

Crime Stoppers - Report anonymously; Phone 0800 555 111 or fill in their online form.

Staffordshire County Council - If you are worried about a child or young person in Staffordshire contact; First Response on 0800 1313 126 or out of hours 0345 6042 886.

Stoke-On-Trent City Council - If you are worries about a child or young person in Stoke-On-Trent, contact the Safeguarding Referral Team on 01782 235100 or out of hours 01782 234234.

Catch22 - This organisation offer support when any child is reported missing. You can also contact them if you are worried someone may be grooming a child you know:
Email (for criminal exploitation) or (for sexual exploitation) Call 01782 237106.
Message sent by
Stacey Maguire (Staffordshire Police, PCSO, Stafford)

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