Suspected drugs and weapons were seized during a multi-force operation to stop criminals using the rail network in South Yorkshire yesterday (Thursday 21 May)

Officers from the Yorkshire and the Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit joined colleagues from South Yorkshire Police and British Transport Police at the main Sheffield and Doncaster train stations.

Specialist colleagues from the Doncaster Multiagency Exploitation Team (EPIC) also took part

They were there to tackle so-called county lines crime – where criminals look to move into another area and transport drugs – often using children or vulnerable adults to move them.

Officers made five arrests (all males aged between 19 and 57) for various offences including robbery possession of an offensive weapon. A 16-year-old boy was safeguarded.

Of the five arrested, two were released under investigation and three were charged.

Similar operations have been carried out across the Yorkshire and the Humber region.

Detective Inspector Mark Catney is the County Lines Lead for the Yorkshire and the Humber Regional Crime Unit.

“Operations show to criminals using the rail network to trade in drugs this way that we are on to them and know it is happening.

“Every time they look to trade in their vile cargo they risk arrest and a potential custodial sentence.

“We were also there to help reassure people and to engage with members of the public and educate them about the dangers posed – particularly by drug dealers who look to take advantage of the vulnerabilities of young people by getting them to ‘do their dirty work.’

“Throughout this operation we also worked with safeguarding professionals to offer help and support to those young people who might benefit from it.”

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “The results of this operation highlight the strength a partnership-led approach can have for apprehending drug dealers and ensuring vulnerable people are kept safe. We are determined that by working together we will disrupt county lines and stop these ruthless gangs who stop at nothing to exploit the most vulnerable for their own gain.”

Detective Superintendent Gareth Williams, of the British Transport Police, said: “The support of local forces is vital in ensuring the success of our operations on the rail network.

“This operation in South Yorkshire is replicated daily across the country as we tackle County Lines drug dealing. Since our Taskforce began in December 2019, we’ve carried out dozens of operations and made hundreds of arrests and regular seizures of cash, drugs and weapons.

“However, our main aim will always be to help and support the vulnerable children and adults that gangs intimidate or exploit into County Lines.”