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County Lines and Modern-Day Slavery

by Cherith Rosevear-Cox last modified 29 Apr, 2021 05:11 PM

The National Crime Agency (NCA) describes County Lines:

County Lines is where illegal drugs are transported from one area to another, often across police and local authority boundaries (although not exclusively), usually by children or vulnerable people who are coerced into it by gangs. The ‘County Line’ is the mobile phone line used to take the orders of drugs. Importing areas (areas where the drugs are taken to) are reporting increased levels of violence and weapons-related crimes as a result of this trend.


County Lines is a real and life-threatening issue for our young people. 

Children as young as 7 are being exploited.


How do you know if County Lines drug dealing is happening in your area? 

Some signs to look out for include:

  • An increase in visitors and cars to a house or flat
  • New faces appearing at the house or flat
  • New and regularly changing residents (e.g. different accents compared to local accent
  • Change in resident's mood and/or demeanour (e.g. secretive/ withdrawn/ aggressive/ emotional)
  • Substance misuse and/or drug paraphernalia
  • Changes in the way young people you might know dress
  • Unexplained, sometimes unaffordable new things (e.g. clothes, jewellery, cars etc)
  • Residents or young people you know going missing, maybe for long periods of time
  • Young people seen in different cars/taxis driven by unknown adults
  • Young people seeming unfamiliar with your community or where they are
  • Truancy, exclusion, disengagement from school
  • An increase in anti-social behaviour in the community
  • Unexplained injuries

What to do if you have concerns?

Please click on the link which takes you to the National Crime Agency (NCA)page for up-to-date guidance: County Lines - National Crime Agency

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