Two-day County Lines operation sees 50 arrested in Scunthorpe

Two-day County Lines operation sees 50 arrested in Scunthorpe

A joint county lines operation between Merseyside and Humberside Police has resulted in 50 arrests and six county lines disrupted.

Merseyside Police’s Project Medusa team deployed to North and North East Lincolnshire last week (13-14 March) to disrupt county lines drug dealing and safeguard vulnerable people.

The targeted operation saw more than 60 officers and specialist staff deploy to the Scunthorpe area, using covert and overt tactics to intercept weapons, drugs and illicit cash, and identify vulnerable individuals exploited by county lines gangs.

In total, 50 people were arrested on suspicion for a variety of offences including possession with intent to supply Class A and B drugs, being concerned in the supply of Class A and B drugs, possession of a bladed article and driving under the influence.

The joint operation also resulted in six county lines being disrupted – the ‘lines’ refers to the phone lines that criminals use to advertise and sell drugs, and the seizure of a significant quantity of Class A and B drugs as well as cash.

Several proactive safeguarding and welfare checks were conducted on people who are known or suspected as being vulnerable to County Lines exploitation. Officers identified 28 people as being at risk of exploitation and were signposted to safeguarding services.

Project Medusa, funded by the Home Office, is a Merseyside initiative to tackle county lines drug dealing and the criminal exploitation of young people and vulnerable adults.

Since 2019, Merseyside’s Project Medusa officers – who are recognised nationally as a leading force in tackling county lines – have closed more than 1,100 county lines; arrested more than 2,400 people for offences including drug supply, firearms and money laundering; and identified 1,250 children and vulnerable adults who have been referred to safeguarding services.

Inspector Stephen Morris from Merseyside Police said: “Merseyside Police leads nationally on the response to County Lines through Project Medusa. County Lines gangs have no regard for the young, vulnerable people they coerce in to running drugs across the country, often with threats of violence and intimidation.

“We regularly deploy to other force areas to target county lines drug dealing, and this operation with Humberside shows the results that can be achieved when working jointly to target those involved in this type of criminality.

“We will relentlessly target those crime groups who cowardly exploit vulnerable people in our communities. Those who exploit children will be caught, arrested and face justice for modern day slavery and human trafficking offences.”

Superintendent Paul Butler from Humberside Police said “This operation dovetails into Humberside’s Operation Shield, relentlessly pursuing those exploiters of those most vulnerable in our communities. We continue to make Humberside a hostile environment for those intent on committing organised crime, working tirelessly in local partnership and utilising national resource to make Humberside a safer place to work and live.”

Merseyside Police’s ‘Silence is Not an Option’ campaign focuses on changing attitudes towards reporting gang-related activity and increasing intelligence reports to Crimestoppers anonymously to report serious and organised crime in Merseyside.

For more information, please visit: Give information 100% anonymously about organised crime in Merseyside | Crimestoppers (

If you are a young person who is worried about being involved in county lines, or know someone who is, you can speak to an adult and let them know how you feel.

You can contact who allow you to pass on information about crime anonymously, or Childline on 0800 1111. They are a private and confidential service where you can talk to counsellors about anything that is worrying you.

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