SIXTEEN people were arrested after a national effort to tackle County Lines.

Avon and Somerset Police worked with the Metropolitan Police and West Midlands Police to dismantle four active County Lines running between London and Somerset.

Many were arrested for a number of offences, including possession with intent to supply drugs, being concerned with the supply of drugs and conspiracy to supply drugs.

Officers seized weapons, a large amount of drugs, more than £20,000 in cash and 26 mobile phones.

Staff from Operation Remedy, neighbourhood teams and intelligence teams, alongside the other police forces, conducted warrants, intercepted vehicles and increased patrols in areas of high footfall known to be used as part of County Lines, such as train stations.

“By definition, County Lines are not constrained to the borders of our region – they involve drug gangs from cities outside our force area bringing illegal substances into our communities, causing them significant harm and exposing our most vulnerable to exploitation, violence and harassment," said Detective Superintendent James Raphael, County Lines lead for Avon and Somerset Police.

"These results show why it’s so important we work hand-in-hand with other police forces to exchange intelligence about County Lines, allowing us to strengthen our understanding of the issue and continue to make our region hostile to County Lines drug dealers.

“The work undertaken by our neighbourhood policing and engagement teams is vital in helping professionals, schools, parents, and children to be aware of this issue, to understand it and to know how to avoid it if they were to encounter it.

"We’re committed to keep spreading the word about County Lines and I want to make it absolutely clear that we have no tolerance for individuals bringing illegal substances into our region and exploiting our communities,

“We have a strong relationship with the Metropolitan Police and West-Midlands Police, which has been key in facilitating the collaborative work that is making Avon and Somerset even more hostile to County Lines and those wishing to exploit vulnerable people and market their drugs here.

"We are delighted with the results from this week, which have resulted in fewer drug dealers on the streets and fewer County Lines operating in our area.”

Police also visited communities to talk to young people about County Lines. They visited 11 schools to provide information about gangs, grooming and exploitation.

Avon and Somerset Police’s child exploitation team also delivered 12 educational sessions to schools, parents, and professionals working in education, social care, and charities with a specific focus on child exploitation.

“County Lines exploits some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and it is our duty to prevent this awful crime from taking place," added Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Shelford.

“Collaboration with partners, local authorities and other police forces is key to stopping County Lines from taking place both nationally and regionally, as proven by these results from the week of action.

"Education is also essential so parents, teachers and other adults working with children can spot the signs and know what help is available if a young adult becomes involved with County Lines drug dealers.

"Well done to the officers, staff and partners whose work has not only raised the profile of this crime but also took more drug dealers off the streets.”