A 15-year-old boy from Craven has been arrested on suspicion of supplying ecstasy. He has been released while under investigation, and safeguarding measures have also been put in place alongside the criminal investigation.

Police also arrested a 17-year-old boy on Friday, October 15, in Skipton, after cannabis and drugs paraphernalia including small plastic bags and scales were recovered from his home. He has been released while under investigation.

The arrests were made as part of a North Yorkshire Police-wide investigation to tackle county lines drug dealing.

North Yorkshire Police arrested 14 people in total and made safeguarding visits to 38 vulnerable people during a week of action between October 12 and 17.

The activity was part of a national “week of intensification” led by the National Crime Agency that saw police forces across the country work to bring down drug dealers and safeguard vulnerable people who are exploited by organised crime gangs.

Detective Chief Inspector Lorraine Crossman-Smith who coordinated the week of activity in North Yorkshire, said: “This week’s action gives a glimpse of the work that goes on the target county lines drug dealing all year round.

“Thanks to these national weeks of action, we are able to draw on additional resources such as our British Transport Police colleagues, the Regional Organised Crime Unit and local partner agencies to tackle what is a major priority for us.

“In addition to enforcement activity, a major focus for North Yorkshire Police is protecting vulnerable people who are drawn into the world of drug dealing. Whether young people who are forced to sell drugs on behalf gangs. Or those who are forced to let drug dealers use their homes as a base for selling drugs in a form of exploitation known as “cuckooing”.

“It requires support from a number of agencies including local authorities, community safety partnerships, housing providers, charities, health workers and drug rehabilitation services. My thanks go to all the agencies who supported the week and for their ongoing efforts throughout the year.”

In North Yorkshire Police’s schools liaison team teamed up with children’s author, Christina Gabbitas to give talks to school children and help them understand the dangers associated with getting involved with drugs and gangs.

Transport network

Young people who have been groomed and exploited by drug dealers often travel long distances on public transport to deliver money and drugs. Officers engaged with transport providers including taxi and bus drivers to raise awareness of how to spot children who may have been exploited and are travelling to North Yorkshire to sell drugs.

They also patrolled railways stations with BTP colleagues where they engaged with rail passengers and were on the look-out for potential victims of trafficking, and drugs being transported into the county.

Enforcement activity in other parts of the county included:

York. Officers in York executed a warrant under the Misuse of Drugs Act on Tuesday October 12. A search of the property revealed approximately £1,000 in cash, mobile phones, foreign currency, scales and two bags of white powder. A 29-year-old man and a 41-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of possessing class A drugs with intent to supply. They were both released under investigation and enquires are continuing.

On Monday October 11, a warrant was carried out under the Misuse of Drugs Act at a property in Acomb. A man in his forties was arrested but later released without charge and given a place on a diversion scheme after officers recovered a small amount of heroin and a butterfly knife.

Scarborough. Offices on patrol in Scarborough town centre on Monday October 11, spotted a suspected drug deal taking place in the street. They stopped and searched the suspect, a 26-year-old man from Leeds, and recovered £4,000 in cash along with quantities of heroin and cocaine. He was later charged with possessing class A drugs with intent to supply and being concerned in the supply of class A drugs. He was remanded in custody to appear at court on October 13.

Elsewhere in the town, officers intercepted a vehicle on New Queen Street that they believed was connected to the supply of drugs. The driver failed a road-side drug test, testing positive for the presence of cocaine, and was arrested on suspicion of drug driving. He has been released pending the results of further tests.

Harrogate. On Monday (October 12) in Harrogate, an 18-year-old man riding an illegal motorised scooter was stopped by officers who recovered 15 packages of cannabis after searching him due to the tell-tale smell of cannabis. He was arrested on suspicion of possessing cannabis with intent to supply and has been released while under investigation to allow further enquiries to be carried out.

In a separate incident on the same day in Harrogate, two women in their 30s were arrested at a property in the Starbeck area on suspicion of possessing heroin with intent to supply. They have been released while under investigation to allow for further enquiries to be carried out.

On Friday October 15, officers arrested a 16-year-old boy and 18-year-old man on Jennyfield Drive after their suspicions were raised while on proactive patrols when the pair ran off on seeing the officers. The pair were stopped and searched and officers recovered an amount of ketamine, cannabis, £300 cash, and equipment suspected of being used for drug supply. The two were both arrested on suspicion of possessing ketamine with intent to supply and possessing cannabis with intent to supply. They have been released while under investigation.

Police are asking people to be on the lookout for tell-take signs of county lines drug dealing. The signs to look our for include:

Persistently going missing from school or home and / or being found out-of-area;

• Unexplained money, clothes, or mobile phones

• Excessive receipt of texts / phone calls

• Relationships with controlling / older individuals or groups

• Leaving home / care without explanation

• Suspicion of physical assault / unexplained injuries

• Carrying weapons

• Significant decline in school results / performance

• Gang association or isolation from peers or social networks

• Self-harm or significant changes in emotional well-being

If you are concerned that a friend or neighbour is being exploited and their home used by drug dealers, call the police on 101. Or call 999 if they are in immediate danger or you believe a crime is happening at the time.

The signs to look out for include

• Increased callers at a property

• Increase in cars pulling up for short periods of time

• Different accents at a property

• Increased antisocial behaviour at a property

• Not seeing the resident for long periods of time

• Unfamiliar vehicles at the property

• Windows covered or curtains closed for long periods