85 people have been arrested and over £105,000 worth of Class A drugs seized after a huge Yorkshire-wide organised crime crackdown.
Forces across Yorkshire and the Humber seized a number of weapons in the crackdown - part of the County Lines Intensification Week last week. 14 knives, six machetes, a firearm, a knuckduster and a spear were taken by officers across the county.
Chief Inspector Leanne Dean, South Yorkshire Police's Force Lead for Child Criminal Exploitation and County Lines, said: "The week of intensified police activity has resulted in the disruption of county lines criminal activity and sees dangerous weapons, a large haul of drugs and vehicles used for criminal activity off our streets.
"We continue to work hard to crack down on the abhorrent crimes of county lines which bring misery to our communities in the form of drug dealing and violence."
Ten of the 14 knives seized in the operation with the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit (YHROCU) were seized in South Yorkshire.
On October 10, officers witnessed a man exchanging packages in the Pitsmoor area of Sheffield. Following a stop search, a 50-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of possession of a Class A drug with intent to supply and was released on bail.
A warrant executed at an address on Deerlands Avenue, Parson Cross, Sheffield, on Friday, October 13, resulted in the recovery of a suspected handgun, ammunition and Class A drugs.
A 35-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of possession of a firearm, possession of an offensive weapon and possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply. He has been released on bail pending further investigation.
Weapons sweeps, vehicle patrols and drugs dog searches also saw £5,440 in suspected criminal cash seized, as well as £10,780 worth of Class A drugs.
Across the county, YHROCU and all the Yorkshire police forces seized around £106,800 worth of Class A drugs and over £92,000 in cash.
Detective Superintendent Fiona Gaffney, deputy head of the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit (YHROCU) said: “The YHROCU is committed to tackling county lines crime and exploitation through our ongoing work with police forces and partner agencies.
"I’m pleased that this period of intensification has resulted in the arrests of criminals and the removal of drugs, weapons and criminal assets coming into our communities here in Yorkshire and the Humber.
"It must also be stressed that our work in tackling the serious organised crime that feeds into county lines activities does not cease and that we are determined to bring those responsible to justice while safeguarding the vulnerable.”
130 people across Yorkshire and the Humber were safeguarded during the week. 60 addresses where victims were suspected to be victims of "cuckooing" were also visited.
South Yorkshire Police have reported they managed to safeguard 41 potential victims of child exploitation.
Chf Insp Dean added: "We will continue to safeguard victims of county lines and child exploitation, so that every child has the happy and safe childhood they deserve.
"If something doesn’t seem right, you’re worried about someone you care about, or suspect something, it's always worth speaking out and reporting to us. With your help, we can continue the crack down on county lines criminal activity and keep our communities safe."
County lines is a term used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs into one or more importing areas within the UK, using dedicated mobile phone lines or other form of "deal line".
They are likely to exploit children and vulnerable adults to carry out illegal activity on their behalf such as the moving and storing of drugs, money and weapons across counties to other towns or rural areas. Criminals will often use coercion, intimidation, weapons, and violence, including sexual violence, to exploit children and vulnerable people.
There is no ‘typical victim’ when it comes to child exploitation. Any child could be at risk of being targeted by criminals. However, children with vulnerabilities such as learning difficulties, those who are neglected, and children who are regularly missing from home are at greater risk of being exploited.