British Transport Police crackdown on county lines on Yorkshire's rail network to be focus of Channel 5 documentary

A documentary is to reveal how police on Yorkshire's railways are intercepting county lines drugs gangs.

By Susie Beever
Wednesday, 15th July 2020, 6:00 am

Gangs recruiting young people to transport drugs between large cities and smaller towns are being disrupted in the form of officers recruited to staff trains and railway stations, with the frontline documented in a series called The Railway 24/7.

The Channel 5 programme provides an insight into the British Transport Police (BTP) operation following £20m funding from the Home Office in October to tackle the issue of county lines, and follows officers on the TransPennine Express rail services in Yorkshire this week.

The episode airs tonight (Wednesday) and features an occasion at Hull Paragon Interchange Station where plain-clothed officers launch a sting operation to try to catch members of the gangs passing through the station.

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A documentary is to reveal how police on Yorkshire's railways are intercepting county lines drugs gangs

Several suspects are stopped before two men are arrested and their homes subsequently searched, with police finding a substantial quantity of drugs.

West Yorkshire Police said on Monday that it had arrested four people in Bradford last week as part of an operation to dismantle one county lines network.

The name "county lines" comes from the burner phones used as lines for dealers to advertise drugs on offer to customers. BTP estimates there are 31 importing through Yorkshire & the Humber.

Arrest warrants were executed on Thursday last week in Bradford, Keighley and Skipton, resulting in three men and one woman being arrested.

A documentary is to reveal how police on Yorkshire's railways are intercepting county lines drugs gangs

Naim Raza Sadik, 37, of Woodville Place, Heaton, Saleem Sadik, 40 of Toller Lane, Heaton, Steven Montgomery, 47 of Jubilee Close, Skipton and Rachel Campbell 52 of Whinfield Avenue, Keighley, have all been charged with conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. The three males were also charged with possession of Class A drugs with the intent to supply.

They are due to appear at Bradford Crown Court on August 7.

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General crime across Britain's railways meanwhile is up by 12 per cent, according to BTP statistics.

A documentary is to reveal how police on Yorkshire's railways are intercepting county lines drugs gangs

Tonight's documentary will show how officers at Manchester Piccadilly Station are using a knife arch to detect passengers carrying weapons, while an officer at York Railway Station deals with drunk and disorderly behaviour among passengers.

Detective Superintendent Gareth Williams said: “Since December, British Transport Police has intensified its operations targeting County Lines. Our Taskforce, funded by the Home Office, has been carrying out operations almost daily across the railway network, including at Hull Paragon Interchange.

“These operations are designed to tackle the movement of drugs on the railway and safeguard vulnerable children who are often exploited or intimidated by gangs into couriering drugs.

“The railway industry has been invaluable in this regard, with train operators training their staff to spot key indicators of criminal exploitation.

A documentary is to reveal how police on Yorkshire's railways are intercepting county lines drugs gangs

“Key indicators include a young child travelling long distances, alone with a large amount of cash, or avoiding any sort of authority at stations. These indicators are small but invaluable and help inform where we target next. There is an evolving understanding of County Lines offending and we are prepared to tackle it, wherever the intelligence leads us.”

The fifth episode of The Railway 24/7, made by Blast! Films, will be aired on Wednesday 15th July at 8pm on Channel 5.