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How to spot child drug couriers campaign

From BBC - April 6, 2018

Bus drivers and train staff are being given tips on how to spot children being used as drug couriers.

The signs - highlighted on new posters - include not having a local accent and receiving "excessive" text messages.

Drugs gangs in big cities are expanding into rural areas and coastal towns to sell heroin and crack cocaine.

They use children to move drugs and cash between the new market and their urban base - a distribution model known as "county lines".

Analysis by the National Crime Agency (NCA) found that on a "conservative estimate", there are at least 720 county lines -named after the dedicated phone lines used by the gangs to distribute drugs - across England and Wales.

An NCA report, published in November, said: "County lines groups tend to use younger members to identify and target other children, either through personal or social media links.

"They focus on those who are particularly vulnerable or at a crisis point in their lives. They are groomed and enticed by gang members to work within the drugs distribution network."

The majority of children recruited by county lines networks are aged 15-17 and male, the report said, adding: "This is because they are less likely to be known to police and more likely to receive lenient sentences if caught."

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