‘County lines’ is the term used to describe the approach taken by gangs originating from large urban areas, who travel to locations elsewhere such as county or coastal towns to sell class A drugs.Gangs typically recruit and exploit children and vulnerable young people to courier drugs and cash. Typically, users ask for drugs via a mobile phone line used by the gang. Couriers travel between the gang’s urban base and the county or coastal locations on a regular basis to collect cash and deliver drugs
Gangs recruit children and young people through deception, intimidation, violence, debt bondage and/or grooming. Gangs also use local property as a base for their activities, and this often involves taking over the home of a vulnerable adult who is unable to challenge them.
The Home Office have published guidance on County Lines you can download here – Home Office Count Lines Guidance (July 2017).
You can find more information on this and related issues on our Missing and Runaway Children (including Trafficking and County Lines) page.