OFFICERS from four different forces teamed up together to target drug dealers operating from Merseyside into North Wales and Cheshire.
The activity was part of the ongoing Project Medusa, an operation led by Merseyside Police, who worked alongside officers from British Transport Police’s specialist County Lines Taskforce, Cheshire Police and North Wales Police on Monday, March 23.
A total of seven people were arrested – and 10 more asked to attend interviews - on suspicion of offences including drugs possession, drug driving and possession of a bladed article.
Officers were deployed to Lime Street, Liverpool South Parkway and Wirral line rail services, and across the Merseyside/Cheshire border to disrupt and intercept any criminals moving between the areas on road or by train.
Addresses and cars were searched, dozens of vehicles stopped, and a large quantity of cannabis and a knife seized during the three operations, all targeting those believed to be involved in County Lines drugs supply.
The operation follows four successful Project Medusa operations conducted by Merseyside Police with other force areas including Scotland, Lancashire, Cumbria, Cheshire, Staffordshire, Northumbria and North Wales where a number of arrests and seizures of drugs, weapons and mobile phones were carried out along with a number of stop searches.
Detective Chief Inspector Allison Woods said: "This kind of targeted action has already proved to be a great success - in Merseyside we have arrested more than 100 people and shut down dozens of County Lines since November.
“We know that currently there are restrictions in place in relation to the Coronavirus pandemic the country finds itself in, and we are acutely aware that some criminals will continue to carry out this type of activity, and still attempt to profit from drug dealing despite the restrictions that are in place.
“Not only would those people be continuing to blight the communities they deal drugs in, they would be risking the health of everyone they come into contact with at a time when we should all be doing what we can to halt this pandemic.
“It is a sad fact that these criminals are known to target vulnerable young people to do their dirty work on the ground, coercing them with promises of cash and expensive possessions.
“But it is business as usual for us and these operations will continue – so it is inevitable those County Lines will be broken up and all of those responsible brought to justice, and stripped of their ill-gotten gains as well as their liberty.
“Ultimately everyone should be warned that if you get involved in crime, you risk facing the consequences. But when we identify vulnerable, exploited young people during our enquiries, we ensure they are treated with sensitivity and understanding, and are offered appropriate support. Our primary target is those who seek to use them for their own selfish gain.”
Anyone with information is urged to call the police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.