A police operation across Stoke-on-Trent and the West Midlands has seen more than 50 arrests and the seizure of cocaine, heroin, stolen cars and weapons.
Operation ‘Yarrow’ has been launched to disrupt the supply line of Class A drugs -known as ‘county Lines’.
Properties were targeted and arrests made in Stoke-on-Trent,Wolverhampton, Shrewsbury, Worcester, Leamington Spa, Stratford-upon-Avon, Stafford and Burton.
Officers from West Midlands Police, Staffordshire Police, West Mercia Police and Warwickshire Police, Central Motorways Policing Group (CMPG) and the British Transport Police coordinated the two-week long operation which was led by the Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU).
Officers executed 14 warrants at properties across the region, which led to 54 arrests to date and the seizure of class A and B drugs including cocaine, heroin and cannabis.
Alongside this cash and weapons were also seized including knives and Samurai swords.
Superintendent Scott Jones, of the Regional Organised Crime unit (ROCU) who led the operation, said: “This operation was all about working together across the region for maximum effect to disrupt the dealers and to protect the vulnerable in our communities.
“Adult drug users, vulnerable women and younger members of the community are exploited for their properties, which is sometimes referred to as cuckooing, or to store or deal class A drugs.
“They are also used for the transportation of the drugs across the country.
“We won’t tolerate this activity in our communities and will do everything we can to prevent the exploitation of vulnerable people.”
Motorway patrols tracked down and stopped cars involved in the distribution and made arrests on the M6.
Support and advice will be in place for drug-users or any identified vulnerable victims.
Detective Chief Superintendent Javid Oomer, of Staffordshire Police, said: “Working with our colleagues across the region we will act fast and decisively to take drugs off our streets to keep our communities safe from harm and to protect the vulnerable.
“If you suspect relatives or friends are being targeted please call us.
“We’re sending out a clear message to those who want to prey on the vulnerable: we will find you and bring you before the courts.”
Wolverhampton Neighbourhood Police Inspector Steve Perry, who led the Black country arm of the operations, said they aim to track down leaders of networks and to identify and safeguard vulnerable people being used to transfer drugs.
“We made some notable arrests during the operation and had traffic units targeting arterial routes out of Wolverhampton that could be used to transport drugs to outlying towns and villages.”
Chief Inspector Faz Chishty, from Warwickshire Police said: “Drugs have a huge impact on our communities and we are committed to doing everything possible to disrupt the supply.
“Working with other forces across the region has sent a strong message to drug dealers that we are looking for you and we will do everything in our power to bring you to justice.
“Operations like this are made possible thanks to information provided by members of the public. They are eyes and ears in the community and the information they provide helps us to build a picture of the problems faced.
“If anyone has any concerns about illegal activity in their area I would urge them to contact us.”