Two South Warwickshire teenagers involved with drugs gangs returned safely home - The Leamington Observer

Two South Warwickshire teenagers involved with drugs gangs returned safely home

Leamington Editorial 12th Oct, 2022 Updated: 12th Oct, 2022   0

TWO vulnerable South Warwickshire teenagers thought to have been manipulated by drug dealers have been returned safely home by police.

The two youngsters are believed to have been involved in county lines – where illegal drugs are transported from one area to another, often across police and local authority boundaries, usually using vulnerable people coerced by gangs.

Officers carrying out targeted county lines patrols in Stratford on Wednesday October 5 spotted a teenage boy who had been reported missing and who was believed to be at risk of exploitation.

While on Thursday October 6, officers found a teenage girl, who they believe was being exploited by drug gangs, during a search of a house in Leamington.

In both cases, the teenagers were returned home and “safeguarding measures” put in place with the help of Children’s Services.

Det Sgt Sarah Wolsey from Proactive CID said: “Much of the media coverage on tackling county lines understandably focuses on arrests, drug seizures and raids. However, from a policing point of view, protecting vulnerable people is equally as important.

“The exploitation of vulnerable children is a common feature in county lines drug supply. They are often exposed to physical, mental and sexual abuse, and in some cases will be trafficked a long way from home as part of a network’s drug dealing business.

“Last week alone in the south of the county we put measures in place to safeguard two children we believe are being exploited by drug gangs, thereby reducing their exposure to further exploitation and cutting off a supply line for dealers.

“Unfortunately, these gangs will find more children to exploit. The children involved don’t see themselves as victims or realise they have been groomed into a life of crime. This is why it is important we are all aware of the signs of exploitation and report any concerns to police.”

Signs that a child is being exploited include changes in behaviour, access to several phones, carrying weapons and travelling alone to places far away from home,

Anyone with suspicions should let police know at or by calling 101. Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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