Gangs and gang crime

County lines (drug trafficking)

'County lines' is a term used when gangs transport dugs from one area to another.

Children and young people are the primary targets to work for 'lines'. Gangs often use violence to drive out local dealers and exploit children and vulnerable people to sell drugs.

The 'line' relates to the main phone number that sends and receives orders for drugs. Drug lines will have their own identifiable name.

The line will send orders to 'runners' who will be in the local area where the drugs are sold. The 'line' will not be in the local area usually. It will be operated by an 'elder' or 'owner' elsewhere.

Heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine are the most common drugs being ordered and supplied. The runners are needed to transport the drugs and collect payment.

Young people will rarely say that they are running a "county line" or "country line". They are more likely to say they are "running a line", "running", "trapping", "going country" or "cunch" or "going O.T.", which stands for 'over there', 'out there' or 'outta town'.

'Cuckooing' is a term that is used to mean taking over the property of a vulnerable person or an abandoned building – sometimes referred to as a 'bando' or a 'spot'. The property is used as a base from which to supply drugs. This can be known as a 'trap house'.

What to do if you're concerned

The National Crime Agency provides lots of useful information and advice, including signs to look out for, what you should do, and how the law will respond.

Go to National Crime Agency: County lines.

You can get more useful information by downloading the 'County Lines Parents Leaflet' from SMART Training and Consultancy, who work with organisations to improve actions that help young people.