Cumbria Safeguarding Adults Board - County Lines

Would you like to view this message in your browser? Click here 


County Lines

The Home Office has published updated guidance to help frontline workers identify and protect victims of county lines gangs.


What is County Lines?

The County Lines model is linked by a marketed mobile phone line which drug users contact a supply group, often from large metropolitan areas for specific drugs to be supplied. The supply group will then task the supply of drugs out to vulnerable people within their area or those in the locality where the drugs are being requested.

Who is the guidance for?

The Home Office has updated it’s guidance to support policing and other statutory frontline staff, particularly those who work with children, young people and vulnerable adults to identify potential victims of this type of criminal exploitation.

The guidance sets out the signs to look for in potential victims, and what action staff should take so that potential victims get the support and help they need. The document supplements any organisation’s existing safeguarding policies.

Local Context

A man from south London was recently jailed for seven years for selling drugs in a county lines operation supplying heroin and crack cocaine in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.

The gang supplied drugs from London and it is understood starting operating in Barrow in September 2017.  There were at least 12 reported deaths of suspected drug overdoses in the town between December 2017 and April 2018.


from Cumbria Constabulary:

Detective Chief Superintendent Dean Holden said:

“County Lines is impacting the entire country and Cumbria is no exception.  Our officers are working daily in partnership with other regional police forces and national agencies to tackle the issue of criminal gangs using vulnerable children and adults to move drugs and money into and out of Cumbria”


Further information:

There are further resources to help policing and statutory staff recognise the signs to look out for, that could indicate that someone is a victim of county lines gangs.

Please download and print posters, share with colleagues and display in offices.