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Operation Viper sees Dorset Police seize £100k of drugs in crackdown on county lines gangs

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TENS of thousands of pounds of illegal drugs have been taken out of circulation, police have said, as part of a new crackdown on county lines dealing in Dorset.

Operation Viper involves a dedicated team of officers using intelligence and enforcement to combat gangs bringing in drugs from cities across the country.

The operation’s first six weeks in Bournemouth alone saw the NETs issue 27 disruption notices to dealers, 10 children exploited by county lines gangs identified and safeguarded, and 29 arrests as a direct result of proactive action and seven warrants executed.

Drugs with a street value of almost £100,000 were seized
Drugs with a street value of almost £100,000 were seized

This led to drugs with a street value of almost £100,000 being seized along with two vehicles related to criminality.

County lines dealers from urban areas often use young and vulnerable children to carry and sell drugs when they come into counties like Dorset.

They also ‘cuckoo’ the home of those using drugs locally – effectively taking over their home to act as a temporary base from which to sell drugs.

Chief Constable Scott Chilton said: “We now have additional dedicated proactive resources to tackle the issues that county lines brings to communities including the exploitation of young people, violence and anti-social behaviour as well stopping the importation of class A drugs into Dorset.”

He continued: “I cannot be clearer on my message to those involved in county lines dealing and selling class A drugs in Dorset.

“We will pursue you and you will be caught and dealt with. The public of Dorset, quite rightly, expect us to be relentless in our approach to tackling these gangs.

“With a clear determined approach, that is what we are doing.”

Newly-created neighbour-hood enforcement teams (NETs) work closely with existing neighbourhood policing groups to provide visibility, proactive enforcement and community engagement.

A dedicated county lines taskforce also works to disrupt incoming drug networks.

Officers also gathered significant intelligence to aid further enforcement action across Dorset.

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