Police across Hampshire & the Isle of Wight have been making intensified efforts to dismantle and disrupt drug dealing networks this month for cocaine, crack, cannabis and pills.

National County Lines Intensification Week took place between Monday 4 and Friday 8 March – a week of action to tackle drug-related harm and violence in our communities.

Across Fareham & Gosport specifically, all your police teams were very active throughout the week, drawing on wider area and force support including from our Roads Policing Unit (RPU) and Neighbourhood Enforcement Team (NET).

Some of the result are captured below:

  • Search of a 21-year-old man in Forton Road, Gosport who was subsequently arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs. He was bailed with conditions until 6 June. During the search, police also seized a bag of cannabis and three mobile phones.
  • A 29-year-old driver was stopped on Fareham Road, Gosport, and found in possession of cannabis. He was given a community resolution and agreed to take part in a drug awareness course.
  • A 49-year-old man was arrested on the A32 in Fareham on suspicion of drug driving. He was released under investigation while enquiries continue.
  • We seized a number of E-scooters which were being ridden illegally – these will be destroyed under Operation Crush.
  • Search of a 54-year-old man in the Mill Road area of Fareham. 4 wraps of heroin and 1 wrap of cocaine were seized. The man was arrested on suspicion of possession of Class A drugs, and bailed with conditions until 4 June while further enquiries are conducted.
  • Vehicle stop on the A27 near Fareham. 12g of suspected cocaine, and 6g of suspected crack cocaine were seized along with £2,160 cash and a mobile phone. A 34-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply. He has been bailed with conditions until 4 June while enquiries continue.
  • Search of a 24-year-old man in Mumby Road, Gosport. A small bag of cocaine was seized, and the man was dealt with by means of community resolution for possession of Class A drugs.
  • A search of a 39-year-old man in Nyria Way, Gosport resulted in the seizure of a number of pills and a mobile phone. The man was arrested on suspicion of possession of Class C drugs with intent to supply, and has been bailed until 8 June while enquiries continue.
  • A search of a vehicle in Forton Road, Gosport, resulted in officers seizing a small amount of cannabis. A 21-year-old man was dealt with by means of community resolution for the offence of Class B drugs possession.
  • A 22-year-old man stopped and searched in the Grange Lane area of Gosport and dealt with by means of community resolution for possession of cannabis.
  • A 43-year-old man was dealt with by means of community resolution for possession of cannabis in Forton Road, Gosport.
  • A 35-year-old man was dealt with by means of community resolution for possession of cannabis in Leesland Road, Gosport.
  • Vehicle stopped in Hunts Pond Road, Fareham, and cannabis seized. A 24-year-old man was dealt with by means of community resolution for possession of cannabis.

County lines have adapted their approaches after relentless pressure from police on their illegal activities by targeting the vulnerable in different areas of the country to run drugs for them. But the technical abilities available to police, and the knowledge that has been gathered in previous weeks of action, mean county lines are no longer a low risk and high reward enterprise for these organised crime gangs.

Fareham & Gosport District Commander, Chief Inspector Chris Spellerberg, said: “Many communities are blighted by county lines and the boroughs of both Fareham and Gosport are not immune. Drugs supply is a scourge on our communities and the effect it has on people is wide reaching. Some of the most vulnerable people in our communities, adults and children, are exploited by gangs and pulled into a lifestyle that involves serious violence and the use of weapons. Let’s be clear, drug dealing destroys lives and we are committed to tackling the supply of illegal drugs, and the exploitation and violence that is frequently associated with it.

“With drug-related activity comes additional patterns of offending and poor behaviour such as child criminal exploitation, modern slavery, missing people, shoplifting, burglary, robbery, and anti-social behaviour (ASB) – which is why a multi-agency response is needed.

“The Police and partnership activity this week demonstrates our ongoing commitment to protecting communities and safeguarding young people, putting them first as they are often the victims of drug-related harm and associated criminality.

“Weeks of action such as these enable us to intensify our efforts. However, teams across Fareham & Gosport are persistently targeting drugs supply day in and day out throughout the year, developing intelligence, stopping individuals and vehicles, and executing drugs warrants on addresses linked to supply.

“We often receive complaints about illegal use of E-scooters. What people may not realise is that, the intelligence tells us, these are a common mode of transport for drug dealers. By targeting illegal riders in known hotspots for drug dealing we are maximising our efforts to disrupt supply throughout Fareham and Gosport and I’m pleased to see a number of illegally used e-scooters seized which will be destroyed.

“This sort of police action is often what you see in the media or on social media, but there is a huge network of activity going on behind the scenes that you don’t see, to develop the full evidential picture around who is involved in drugs supply and how they are operating. The work also involves safeguarding vulnerable people, disrupting patterns of offending and referring drug users to support services that can help them break their habit.

“The public are our eyes and ears on the ground and we urge people to please keep reporting any information about drugs supply in your neighbourhood to police.”

To make a report to police, call 101, or use the online reporting tool at www.hampshire.police.uk

Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111, or via their anonymous online form at crimestoppers-uk.org

Most of the harm and risk caused by county lines continues to be the exploitation of children and vulnerable people. Throughout the week, officers conducted educational visits to local schools.

Parents are usually the first to identify signs and notice that something is wrong.

It is crucial that you log your concerns and seek support from safeguarding professionals so that your child gets the right support as soon as possible. Every child’s situation may be different and you may see real changes in your child’s behaviour. If you see any of the following signs, we encourage you to seek help as soon as possible:

  • Stealing money or items of value – this may indicate they have incurred a drug debt
  • Exploiters may come to your home, workplace, or your child’s school to reclaim a debt. This can often involve them threatening you, your child and your family.
  • They may have items stolen from them to pay for the debt and when asked what’s happened, they don’t give an explanation or become defensive.
  • They may disclose that they owe money but will not provide information about who they owe it to or why.
  • You may see a change in their behaviour such as becoming increasingly angry, aggressive, withdrawn, uncommunicative or secretive as well as being unable to sleep.
  • You may see signs of physical harm, which they may try and hide from you or refuse medical treatment.
  • They may start to carry weapons for their own personal protection. You may find evidence of the weapons stored or hidden in your home or in the areas around your house such as gardens, sheds, and drains.

You can find out more information on spotting the signs and the support available via the Ivision Trust: https://ivisontrust.org.uk/debt-bondage/

In total last week, the Force-wide policing activity across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight resulted in the following…