Crimestoppers launches new county lines campaign across Bedfordshire

It hopes to highlight the damage caused by criminal gangs who exploit vulnerable people, including children

The campaign is shining a light on the dangers of County Lines, where criminals from major cities like Manchester, Liverpool, London and Glasgow expand their drug networks to other areas like Bedford.

Violence, abuse and exploitation are common behaviours and cause immense harm to individuals, neighbourhoods and communities.

The gangs frequently set up in a new area for a short period of time, taking over homes of vulnerable people – which is known as cuckooing. They use children and adults to act as drug runners, forcing them to carry out criminal activity using threats, grooming and extortion.

Criminal gangs move into towns and exploit vulnerable people, including children (Getty)

The Crimestoppers campaign hopes to educate the public on what signs to look out for and encourage them to speak up anonymously if they have any suspicions or information about County Lines.

Annabelle Goodenough, regional manager for the South East at Crimestoppers, said: “County Lines is a significant and growing problem and we need your help to identify and protect the people and communities who are harmed by these gangs. Children and young people are being exploited and many are too troubled and young to realise what is happening. Being forced into drug running can leave them feeling they have no way out or struggling to escape the daily harm they have to endure.

“We have always kept our promise of 100% anonymity to everyone who has contacted us. We never ask for your name. We won’t judge. We listen to what you know. Once you’ve hung up the phone or clicked send on our online form, you’re done. No-one will ever know you contacted us."

To find out more about the campaign including signs to spot, visit our website here