Police operation closes over 100 county lines

112 county lines have been closed and 200 years' worth of sentences have been dished out as a result of the work undertaken by Op Apollo.

Cheshire Constabulary launched Operation Apollo in November 2022 in a bid to combat these criminal networks and since then they have secured multiple convictions and seized thousands of pounds worth of cash and illegal drugs.

County lines drug dealing involves organised crime groups based in major cities extending their criminal enterprise into towns and rural locations. They often recruit and coerce young children and vulnerable adults to sell illegal drugs for them.

In their first year, Op Apollo secured over 100 years' worth of prison sentences and tore down 70 county lines gangs.

Just six months later, Op Apollo have now dismantled 112 county lines and have put 53 offenders behind bars, who are collectively facing over 200 years' worth of sentences. A further 35 people are still awaiting sentencing or trial.

Over 150 people have also been charged with drug related offences as a result of Cheshire Constabulary's commitment to tackling county lines. Additionally over £60,000 in cash has been seized and over £87,000 worth of illegal drugs recovered.

Detective Inspector Robert Balfour, from Cheshire Constabulary's Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said: "In just six months, our team of detectives have secured an additional 100 years' worth of sentences, handed to individuals involved in county lines.

"Organised gangs operating county lines are known to exploit children and vulnerable adults to move and supply drugs on their behalf.

"This lifestyle shouldn't be glamourised and can lead to serious consequences.

"That's why Op Apollo have been working tirelessly to dismantle county lines and put a stop to the drug dealers operating them.

"With 112 county lines closed and over £140k worth of cash and drugs seized, the message is clear that illegal drugs and those who supply them are not welcome here in Cheshire.

"Op Apollo will continue to target those who are foolish enough to believe they can establish illegal drug supply lines here in our county and go undetected.

"If you believe a county line is operating in your community, please get in touch with us here at Cheshire Police and we will take action."



Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Mark Eden
Wednesday 22nd May 2024 at 3:12 pm
Drug dealers should get life not a poxy 4 years where they just carry on dealing. Well done Police for their great work.....but shame on the system for not offering a real fear in dealing.
Marina McHugh
Thursday 23rd May 2024 at 3:58 am
Excellent results. Let’s hope the good work continues under the new Labour Police Commissioner.
Pete Taylor
Tuesday 28th May 2024 at 7:04 pm
@Marina McHugh- I’m not sure that this excellent County Lines initiative (as an Operational matter) has anything to do with the last PCC or will have anything to do with the recent appointee either.

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