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Police arrest six people in Highlands and Islands in County Lines day of action targeting drug dealers

By Val Sweeney

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Police officers at Inverness rail station during the County Lines day of action.
Police officers at Inverness rail station during the County Lines day of action.

Police arrested six people and seized more than £14,000 of drugs in the Highlands and Islands as part of a Scotland-wide operation to target drug dealers exploiting vulnerable children and young adults.

Police Scotland's County Lines day of action also resulted in four warrants being executed, seven people being safeguarded and £5600 in cash being seized in the region yesterday.

County Lines refers to drug dealers from large cities who expand their operations into smaller towns.

They endeavour to exploit young and vulnerable people to sell drugs, carry cash and weapons – bringing violence, coercion and abuse. They may also take over a vulnerable person’s house – known as cuckooing.

Proactive action by officers across Scotland resulted in vulnerable people being identified, cuckooing addresses being visited, a number drugs search warrants executed and people being arrested.

A large quantity of controlled drugs, including heroin, cocaine, amphetamine and cannabis were seized.

Tens of thousands of pounds in cash and weapons, including a Samurai sword, were also recovered.

Local officers, special constables and national resources, including road policing and dog unit officers, as well as British Transport Police, took part in the activity throughout the day.

Police Scotland’s Assistant Chief Constable Angela McLaren said: "County Line gangs groom and exploit the most vulnerable people in our communities including children and young people to store and sell drugs. They are intimated, coerced, threatened and often subject to violence.

"These gangs are not welcome in Scotland. Our officers remain absolutely committed to working with our partners in the SOC Taskforce to safeguard individuals who may be at risk and to pursue offenders.

"Together we will continue to make Scotland a hostile environment to those who seek to engage in criminal activity.

"The positive results during the day of action are an example of this work which will continue in support of the Serious and Organised Crime Strategy.

"As ever, I would urge anyone with concerns to report them to Police Scotland or alternatively to Crime stoppers anonymously."

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