Parents, Guardians and Carers Urged to Prevent Children Being Used by Drug Dealers

The Yorkshire and the Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit is urging parents, guardians and carers to prevent their children doing the “dirty work” of drug dealers.

So-called ‘County Lines’ crime involves criminal networks bringing in illegal drugs into one or more area(s) using dedicated mobile phone lines.

The criminals will often use and exploit young children and vulnerable adults to commit the crime and will use violence (and sexual violence) and weapons to get what they want.

And the Regional Crime Unit – which covers West, North and South Yorkshire and Humberside is urging people to know the signs so they can prevent criminals from taking advantage of their loved ones.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Howard from the Unit, said:

“ ‘County Lines’ crime cuts across many different types of serious crime which impact directly on the communities we serve.

“At the centre of it are victims who are often either children or vulnerable adults. We know about county lines crime and action is carried out, mainly behind the scenes, to bring those responsible for it to justice.

“We are looking to educate people so they know the signs so they can stop their loved ones becoming trapped.

“Our campaign focusses on the ‘Trapped – Find a way out’ campaign which supports work to stop children being criminally exploited. In September we held a conference to spread awareness amongst front line staff and partners about the #findawayout message.

“This was a very successful conference which involved officers and support staff with safer schools, safeguarding and community support work teams.

“We have also developed a safer schools educational package which is being delivered in schools across the region.

“I would urge parents and guardians to follow our social media channels and our website for further information.”


Some of the indicators of Child Criminal Exploitation include:

  • Regularly going missing, unknown whereabouts during school hours.
  • Leaving home with no explanation.
  • Drug or alcohol misuse.
  • Items and money which cannot be accounted for.
  • Pregnancy, terminations and STI's.
  • Carrying and concealing weapons.
  • Excessive receipt of text messages and phone calls, multiple mobile phones.
  • Association with others who have been exploited.
  • Association with Organised Crime Groups and being involved in criminality.
  • Self-harm or significant changes in emotional well-being.