Police have issued a warning that teenage boys as young as 13 are being recruited to work for drug dealers by making promises of money and presents.
Young people are promised money, cell phones, vapes, and clothing in exchange for participating in alleged “enterprise opportunities” that are publicized on social media.
Who wants to make £500 this weekend? drug dealers have been seen sending out messages, according to the British Transport Police (BTP). as they entice youth to join the gangs.
It is starting a Snapchat campaign to advise youngsters in Liverpool, Birmingham, and London between the ages of 13 and 15 not to join the criminal networks.
Drug traffickers frequently take advantage of young people to transport illegal goods by rail as part of so-called county lines networks.
They are drug gangs that operate out of metropolitan hubs and use young, defenseless individuals as couriers to reach customers in rural areas.
Officers have detained 2,250 gang-related suspects since the BTP county lines squad was established in late 2019, 40% of them were under the age of 19.
Just 20% of those under 19 have been charged with a crime, which is a result of the fact that many young individuals are known to be exploitation victims.
Lead of the BTP’s County Lines Taskforce, Detective Superintendent Gareth Williams, stated: “It’s not unusual for my dedicated teams to come across minors on the railway who are being used to sell drugs.
Our top objective, which is supported by safeguarding specialists, is to find these victims and rescue them.
The 13-year-old child who was the youngest victim of county lines activity was controlled by a couple who were sentenced to more than 12 years in prison.
We’re relentless in our pursuit of these despicable human traffickers, and we’re using the law against modern slavery to make sure they get long enough prison sentences.
In a BTP-commissioned poll of 1,500 males between the ages of 13 and 19, 19% reported that they or a friend had been offered job by a drug dealer.
20% of the males surveyed in the OnePoll study knew someone who transported or sold drugs, according to the survey.
According to the report, 15% of teenagers and 18% of students had both witnessed the sale or offer of drugs on social media.