A major police crackdown targeting ‘county lines’ drug dealing has resulted in 37 arrests in less than a week.
Vulnerable children and adults have also been identified and safeguarded, say the force.
It is part of ‘county lines intensification week’ which saw police forces across the UK seizing drugs, weapons and making arrests.
A total of 37 people were arrested in Leicestershire between Monday, May 17 and Sunday, May 23 for offences including drug dealing, possession and drug driving.
During the operation, class A and B drugs heroin, crack cocaine and cannabis were recovered as well as blank firing firearms and ammunition.
Some 33 people were issued warrants in Leicestershire hotspot areas including Charnwood, North West Leicestershire, Melton and both east and west Leicester.
Children and vulnerable adults are ‘notoriously exploited’ by drug gangs, say police after they safeguarded 17 children and 10 adults.
Gangs who export drugs use ‘vulnerable’ people to move and store drugs and money by using ‘coercion, intimidation and violence.’
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Sinski from the Force Intelligence Bureau said: “It has been an incredibly successful week not just in terms of arrests and charges but also in the way we have worked with so many partners from community safety partnerships to education and social services, as well as drug intervention organisations such as Turning Point, to protect vulnerable people who are being exploited.
“Drugs have a very negative affect on people’s lives and blight communities by bringing crime and anti-social behaviour to their doorstep.
“There is no doubt in my mind that our enforcement action will have significantly disrupted the supply of drugs into our county towns but we are not complacent and will continue to focus on this priority area with more warrants already planned.”
As part of the national clampdown, forces carried out training workshops in schools across the county to warn children of the dangers of being exploited by the drug dealers.
Officers also used Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) to track down vehicles suspected of supplying or being in possession of drugs.
ANPR resulted in seven arrests which included charges and driving while under the influence of drugs.
In south Leicester, five peoples were further taken into custody, some wanted on recall to prison.
Two of them tested positive for drugs, another two were charged with drink driving and one on suspicion of domestic abuse.
Leicestershire Police worked with British Transport Police at Leicester railway station using police dogs to search for weapons – it resulted in nine stop and searches.
Chief Constable Simon Cole said: “An enormous amount of hard work goes into the planning and execution of these intense weeks of action but the excellent results speak for themselves.
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“We have taken a large amount of drugs off our streets and arrested people whose actions blight communities and prey on the vulnerable. I’m glad that we’ve been able to safeguard vulnerable adults and young people, and refer them on to other agencies to get the help and support they need, to have a better future.”
Newly elected Police and Crime Commissioner Rupert Matthews said: “I observed joint operations between Leicestershire Police and British Transport Police at Leicester Station during county lines week.
“I was deeply impressed by the dedication and skills shown by Leicestershire Police and British Transport Police when confronting criminal activity.
“County lines week was a demonstration of an intelligence-led operation; it serves to counter drug smugglers who are exploiting vulnerable children and using them as a way of getting harmful and illegal drugs into our city and two counties.
“Prevention strategies like this are not just a great demonstration of reacting to and stopping crime but also a great way of deterring criminals.
“I must say that the police have been doing a fantastic job and it is teamwork like no other. I look forward to seeing some great results.”