New figures show a shocking increase in the number of young people who are cared for in provincial lines
1,500 new drug gangs in the provincial lines in just a year: New numbers show shocking increase in young people prepared to trade as cocaine consumption in British missiles 290 percent since 2011
- The number of young people involved in gangs of provincial lines doubles in one year
- Figures show that the police reported more than 3,000 gangs last year
- Data show that there are up to 1,100 telephone lines that advertise drugs every month
The alarming magnitude of the county line epidemic was uncovered yesterday as new data showed that drug trafficking doubled within a year.
More than 3,000 gangs were reported by police in 2019 – a doubling from 1,500 in 2018, according to a report by the National Crime Agency.
It’s quadrupled since 2017, when there were 720 operations that shipped heroin and shipped cocaine from cities to provincial towns.
The explosion in the drug threat has been fueled by a 290 percent increase in cocaine consumption in the UK since 2011. It has led to a wave of related killings, which now represent 47 percent of all murders, compared to 36 percent in 2008/09 [File photo]
The term county lines refers to the individual telephone lines that gangs use to sell and distribute drugs.
Despite a crackdown by troops, figures from the National County Lines Coordination Center show that there are 800 to 1100 telephone lines that advertise drugs every month.
Gangs are recruiting an army of youth to replace the arrested youth, as the report warns that children as young as 11 are being intimidated into becoming “runners.”
And the number of youth cared for to become money mules – so that criminals have access to their savings accounts – has risen by 26 percent since 2017.
The report warns, “Exploitation in the drug industry in the county lines remains the most common form of child crime, the vast majority of victims.”
The NCA National Strategic Assessment estimates that the UK cocaine market is worth £ 11.8 billion annually. More than a third of all organized crime gangs in Britain are involved in drug activities [File photo]
The explosion in the drug threat has been fueled by a 290 percent increase in cocaine consumption in the UK since 2011.
It has sparked a wave of related killings, which now represent 47 percent of all murders, compared to 36 percent in 2008/9.
One-third of the victims and two-thirds of the suspects in murder and manslaughter cases are now known drug users or suppliers, the NCA said.
Firearms violations have also increased by 38 percent in the five years to 2018/19, partly as a result of gang wars.
The NCA National Strategic Assessment estimates that the UK cocaine market is worth £ 11.8 billion annually.
More than a third of all organized crime gangs in Britain are involved in drug activities.
Cocaine traders flood the UK with drugs from South America using commercial and passenger ferry traffic from Europe, shipping containers and yachts.
The border police have seen a significant increase in the number of heroin cases.
The report also warned that cannabis seizures from the U.S. and Canada have skyrocketed, with more seized in the first three months of 2019 than in all of 2018.
Yesterday, NCA Director General Lynne Owens said that overall serious and organized crime continues to be a major threat with 4,772 organized gangs operating.
“We now estimate that there are at least 350,000 people involved in serious and organized crime in the UK,” she said.
“It continues to kill more people than any other national security threat and has a corrosive impact on the UK and its citizens.”
Her warning comes just days after the prosecution issued new guidelines telling police to postpone charges in organized crime cases so that the courts are not congested during the corona virus outbreak.
Cocaine traders flood the UK with drugs from South America with commercial and passenger ferry traffic from Europe, sea containers and yachts [File photo]