County Lines – Watch for warning signs

County Lines is a phrase used to describe a very serious issue where criminal gangs set up a drug dealing operation in a place outside their usual operating area. Gangs will move their drug dealing from large cities to smaller towns in order to make more money.

As well as drugs, violence, criminal and sexual exploitation, modern slavery and missing persons can also occur.

This can have a big effect on the community who live there and bring with it serious criminal behaviour. Recent media coverage has increased the awareness of this type of activity.

The gangs exploit young and vulnerable people and use a high level of violence and intimidation to establish and maintain markets. Levels of violence vary considerably, but often include the use of knives, corrosives, firearms and other weapons.

A young person’s involvement in county lines activity often leaves signs!

  • Returning home late, staying out all night or going missing
  • Being found in areas away from home
  • Increasing drug use, or being found to have large amounts of drugs on them
  • Being secretive about who they are talking to and where they are going
  • Unexplained absences from school, college, training or work
  • Unexplained money, phone(s), clothes or jewellery
  • Increasingly disruptive or aggressive behaviour
  • Using sexual, drug-related or violent language you wouldn’t expect them to know
  • Coming home with injuries or looking particularly dishevelled
  • Having hotel cards or keys to unknown places.


Should you notice any of the following signs, and would like to discuss them further, please contact our Director of Student Services Mr Clark on SWClark@southfieldsch.co.uk

More information can be found here:  https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-is-county-lines