Police tracking drug dealers in North Yorkshire have identified ‘County Lines’ drug gangs are entering the region from Bradford, Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds.
Four criminal operations have been identified in the Harrogate district, with a meeting hearing that gangs from bigger towns and cities, including Bradford, are targeting smaller towns.
It has also been revealed that 38% of arrests made for cross-county drug dealing are under the age of 18.
15 arrests out of the 40 made so far this year have been younger than 18 years old, with the young nature of the offenders encouraging police to liaise with schools to help identify and support vulnerable students at risk of becoming involved with drugs.
Speaking on the spike of cross-county drug dealing, Inspector Penny Taylor addressed Harrogate councillors, saying: “We’re seeing drug-dealers involved in County Lines using different modes of transport – hire vehicles, taxis, trains and buses…it’s an area of concern for us."
Among the convictions for drug dealing offences was 22-year-old Mohammed Khizer of Percival Street, Bradford, who was sentenced to over five years and two months earlier this year for possession and intent to supply Class A drugs, as well as dangerous driving, in Harrogate.