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London man sentenced for running County Line drugs network between London and Portsmouth

A 36-year-old man from London has been sentenced to seven years in prison for operating a Class A drugs network between London and Portsmouth.

Andrew Brown, of Calverley Close in Beckenham, was arrested in London as part of a proactive drugs investigation into a County Line being run from the capital into Portsmouth. 

The court heard how Brown was arrested in November 2021 following a joint investigation launched in August 2021 by Hampshire Constabulary’s Eastern Proactive Investigation team and the Metropolitan Police Service as part of Operation Orochi, their County Lines response. 

Brown was charged and later convicted of being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine and heroin between March and November 2021. He was sentenced to seven years in prison at Swindon Crown Court on Friday 8 April.

PC Fae Blundell, from the Eastern Proactive Investigations team, said: “We are pleased that Brown is being held accountable for his crimes and hope that this sentence sends out a strong message to drug dealers that offences of this kind will not be tolerated in Portsmouth or Hampshire. 

“If dealers try and set up a network in any part of the county, we will work relentlessly to find them and bring them before the courts. We are actively working to disrupt County Lines drug dealing and our key aim is to prevent the exploitation of vulnerable people. 

“Violence is linked to drugs and this is why we are tackling and disrupting the supply of drugs coming into the county. It is vital that we keep working to reduce violent crime and keep people safe."

Detective Constable Kevin Foley, from The Met’s Operation Orochi, said “County lines drug dealers exploit young and vulnerable people to facilitate their drug supply. They hope that by using vulnerable children and adults as drugs runners they will shield themselves from identification and prosecution by law enforcement. This investigation has shown police forces are working together to pursue those involved with drug supply.”

Spotting the signs

Hampshire Constabulary encourage communities to spot the signs that someone might be involved in drugs supply, and to report any suspicious activity to us via 101, the Hampshire Constabulary website or Crimestoppers where reports can be made 100% anonymously.

Some of the things to look out for and consider include:

  • Do you know someone who is always going missing from school or their home?
  • Are they travelling alone to places far away from home?
  • Do they suddenly have lots of money/lots of new clothes/new mobile phones?
  • Are they receiving much more calls or texts than usual?
  • Are they carrying or selling drugs?
  • Are they carrying weapons or know people that have access to weapons?
  • Are they in a relationship with or hanging out with someone/people that are older and controlling?
  • Do they have unexplained injuries?
  • Do they seem very reserved or seem like they have something to hide?
  • Do they seem scared?
  • Are they self-harming?

Cuckooing is when drug gangs take over the home of a vulnerable person through violence and intimidation, using it as their base for selling/manufacturing drugs.

Signs of cuckooing include:

  • An increase in people coming and going
  • An increase in cars or bikes outside 
  • Litter outside
  • Signs of drugs use
  • You haven’t seen the person who lives there recently or when you have, they have been anxious or distracted.

If you suspect drug related activity in your area, please get in touch with the Police. All information could help to catch and convict those who deal drugs to our communities and even the smallest pieces of information can help us develop a stronger intelligence picture.

Call on 101 or online at https://www.hampshire.police.uk/

Alternatively people can contact Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at https://crimestoppers-uk.org/

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