Drug gangs have been targeted by West Midlands Police as part of a national week of action against ‘County Lines’ heroin and crack cocaine networks.
The force executed 15 warrants last week, made 28 arrests, and seized weapons, almost £14,000 in cash and drugs valued at more than £80,000.
The action formed part of a County Lines Intensification Week that saw police forces across the UK share intelligence and join forces to tackle drug supply chains.
Six homes in Coventry were hit after police linked them to drug supplies into Leamington Spa, Rugby and north Oxfordshire.
The Monday (13 May) job involved West Midlands and Warwickshire Police officers and netted 1.7kg of cocaine, bags of cannabis, several phones, £7,000 in cash and keys to cars believed to have been stolen during burglaries.
A 28-year-old woman was arrested and later charged with possessing drugs with intent to supply; a teenage boy was detained at one property but later released without charge and will be brought in for questioning at a later date.
And on Tuesday (14 May) officers arrested six people, seized heroin and weapons - including an improvised 'spear' made from a knife taped to a broom handle - after smashing a drugs den in the Foleshill area of Coventry.
Watch footage from that raid below.
Elsewhere, two 17-year-old male youths were charged with conspiracy to supply drugs after West Midlands and West Mercia police forces raided properties in the Black Country last Thursday (16 May).
Officers forced entry to two addresses in Tipton – Jays Avenue and Howard Street – plus a third in Blakeley Hall Road, Oldbury. Around 300 wraps of Class A drugs were seized along with a mobile phone believed to be a drugs ‘hotline’ and £3,000 in cash.
Superintendent Rich Agar is West Midlands Police’s lead for County Lines. He said: “It’s been a really productive week with West Midlands Police teaming up with neighbouring forces to tackle cross-border drugs crime.
“We secured some notable arrests and charges, but importantly our officers also safeguarded several vulnerable people, including children, who were suspected to be at risk of exploitation by drug gangs.
“That included two 15-year-old Birmingham boys, who’d been reported missing, who officers found at an address in Leamington Spa. They ran from the back of the house and tried hiding behind a shed…though later claimed they were ‘just chilling’.
“We took them back to their homes and impressed on them and their parents our concerns for their safety.”
The national week of action (13 to 20 May) coordinated by the National Crime Agency led to more than 500 arrests by UK police, plus the seizure of £312,649 in cash and Class A dugs valued at more than £200,000.
In addition, hundreds of vulnerable adults and children were spoken to about the threat of County Lines exploitation and offered safeguarding advice.
Supt Agar added: “We are committed to dismantling drugs networks operating out of the West Midlands and to protect any young, vulnerable people who are exploited by gangs and subject to violence, fear and intimidation.
“If anyone suspects a property in their community is being used by drugs gangs then I’d urge them to get in touch so we can take action.”
Anyone with information is urged to contact West Midlands Police via Live Chat at WMP Online, dial 101 or contact the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.