Train staff help catch one 'child slave' of drug gangs every day as boys and girls as young as 12 travel hundreds of miles to sell heroin and crack cocaine

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Train staff help catch one 'child slave' of drug gangs every day as boys and girls as young as 12 travel hundreds of miles to sell heroin and crack cocaine

Post by HoratioTarr on Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:34 pm

More than 100 children enslaved in county lines gangs have been caught travelling on trains in the past three months, shocking figures show.

In some instances schoolchildren as young as 12 are being forced to travel hundreds of miles across the country to sell heroin and crack cocaine on the streets.

British Transport Police have revealed that more than half of the train passengers considered to be involved in county lines are children.

In the past three months, officers have identified 197 travellers thought to be active in drug networks.

Of those stopped, 107 – effectively one a day – were aged between 12 and 17.

Train staff questioning teenagers during school hours and young, unaccompanied passengers uncovered 98 boys and nine girls suspected of being in county lines gangs, which are named after the mobile phone lines used to sell, distribute and buy the drugs.

The alarming figures come as the number of vulnerable children on the trains being referred to police for help has more than doubled in the past three years with around 25 children a day reported missing or at risk of criminal exploitation.

In 2015, British Transport Police (BTP) made 3,922 referrals of missing and vulnerable children and young people to forces in their home area. This year that figure is expected to rise to 9,207.

n one recent instance, a member of rail staff became suspicious on seeing two 16-year-old girls trying to purchase a train ticket being ‘minded’ by an old man.Police were called and detained the girls, spooking their handler who ran off dropping a holdall containing several thousand pounds worth of crack cocaine.

Officers discovered that both girls had previously been reported missing and had less than £15 between them. One of the girls had an injury to her lip; the other was covered in bruises and burns.

In another case, two teenage boys had to be taken to hospital after being forced to carry an astonishing 200 wraps of crack cocaine and heroin inside their bodies.

County lines groups are also carrying deadly weapons on trains.When transport officers launched a week-long crackdown last month, they found ten suspects carrying a range of weapons including a hunting knife, imitation firearm and a machete.

Now BTP wants to use CCTV on trains and within stations to track vulnerable children as the force seeks to build a map of county lines train routes and compile an effective watch list of those teenagers at risk of exploitation.

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