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What is County Lines

County Lines is the name given to describe drug dealing by criminal gangs from urban areas expanding their activities into smaller towns and rural areas.

County Lines

It often involves the exploitation of children, as gangs use young people and those with mental health or addiction problems to transport drugs and money. These gangs establish a base in the location they are targeting, often taking over the homes of local vulnerable adults by force or coercion in a practice referred to as ‘cuckooing’.

Dealers typically use a single phone line to facilitate the supply of Class A drugs to customers. The phone line is highly valuable and is protected through violence and intimidation.

What is Cuckooing?

Cuckooing is the term used when gangs establish a base in the location they are targeting, often taking over the homes of vulnerable adults by force or coercion.

How to spot the signs that cuckooing might be happening in your neighbourhood:

  • Lots of different people coming and going from an address during the day and at night.
  • Suspicious smells coming from the property.
  • Windows covered or curtains closed all of the time.
  • Cars pulling up to or near to the house for a short period of time.
  • An increase in anti-social behaviour around the property.

OP MANTIS logo FINALWhat is Operation Mantis?

Operation Mantis is a team of detectives who are tasked with tackling County Lines gangs with the support of other police units within Hertfordshire Constabulary and partners.

Signs to look out for in your local community:

  • Lone children from outside of the area
  • Individuals with multiple mobile phones or tablets or ‘SIM cards’
  • Unknown or suspicious looking characters coming and going from a neighbour’s house
    • Young people with more money, expensive clothing, or accessories than they can account for
    • Lots of different people coming and going from an address during the day and at night.
    • Suspicious smells coming from the property.
    • Windows covered or curtains closed all of the time.
    • Cars pulling up to or near to the house for a short period of time.
    • An increase in anti-social behaviour around the property.

How can I help?

We need your help to protect young and vulnerable people in our communities. Ensure you know what signs to look for and report any suspicions to the police so that we can help stop county lines from affecting your community.

You can report any suspicious activity online or alternatively if you wish to speak to someone call 101. If you’d prefer to contact someone anonymously, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or giving information online.

You will be kept completely anonymous and your details will not be passed to police.

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