‘Worrying’ growth of county lines gangs in Shropshire
County lines drug dealing needs to be tackled urgently, a councillor has said as she requested Shropshire Council takes action.
The act, in which drug dealers from big cities operate in smaller towns and villages, often exploiting those who are vulnerable, has been a major talking point in the region.
Drug dealers from Wolverhampton, Liverpool and Manchester have targeted Shropshire in recent years, with West Mercia Police securing a number of convictions.
But Councillor Pam Moseley, member for Monkmoor in Shrewsbury, has asked Shropshire Council’s health and adult social care overview and scrutiny committee to set up a ‘task and finish group’ to see what can be done to tackle the crime.
She said: “The emergence of county lines gangs operating in areas like Shropshire has become worrying. It sees drug dealers from other towns and cities operate in other areas away from their normal patch.
“We have seen this happen in Shropshire. I want a task and finish group set up to investigate what can be done to tackle this crime. It could identify how people are being targeted and how they are recruited, or how those from away are coming in. It can also look at how we mitigate this.”
Councillor Karen Calder, chairman of the committee, agreed with councillor Moseley’s request, but said she was not sure if this was the right scrutiny committee to set it up.
“We will have a look at who is best placed to look at it and I agree it is something we then need to look at setting up.” Earlier this year it was revealed gangs from across the county were targeting Shropshire.
Andrew Gough, Shropshire’s Safer Communities group officer, said in February that he was concerned with how many gangs are operating in the county, recruiting young and often vulnerable people to deal drugs as part of county lines.
He said: “We are seeing many gangs coming in from the big cities and infiltrating our communities.
“They are coming from the likes of Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Liverpool mainly.
“They are setting up County Lines drug rings.
“We are seeing young people moving in and recruiting young and sometimes vulnerable people to help them sell drugs in rural communities.”