MORE than £1,000 in cash and 90g of drugs were seized as a crackdown on drugs in Basingstoke was stepped up.

As part of a week of a clampdown on ‘County Lines’ drug dealing in Hampshire, police also made five arrests in the borough, leading to three people being charged.

Last week, officers from Hampshire Constabulary executed warrants, stop searched, carried out safeguarding visits, and worked with local schools to raise awareness of this method of drug supply.

Working with partners at the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit and British Transport Police, the force targeted and disrupted those involved in ‘County Lines’ drug dealing.

The week of action was led by Superintendent Matthew Reeves in Hampshire and Isle of Wight who told The Gazette: “Since we started the operation, we have been able to build up a better picture of where drugs activity is taking place in Basingstoke.

“This means we have more information to allow us to carry out searches and warrants.”

In the last 18 months, the ongoing Fortress campaign has led to a number of convictions of those operating in Basingstoke, including of dealers travelling down from London and taking advantage of vulnerable people and cuckooing at their properties.

Cuckooing is when a drug dealer moves into the home of someone vulnerable to store and sell drugs.

Superintendent Reeves added: “What we want to make sure of is that these vulnerable people have the support they need.

“These types of dealers can have an impact on the social behaviour of a community, so by working with housing associations and by the support of neighbours we are able to focus on these areas and reduce the impact it has on the wider community.”

“It’s not only the obviously vulnerable who are groomed for county lines. Young people from all backgrounds have been groomed for transporting and dealing drugs.”

During the crackdown in Basingstoke, 32g of suspected crack cocaine were seized, along with 28g of suspected heroin and 31g of cannabis. Officers also seized £1,040 in cash, eight mobile phones and two knives.

Across Hampshire, more than £28,000 worth of drugs were collected, with police making 35 arrests during the week of intense activity.

Superintendent Reeves said: “This type of criminality needs a partnership approach, including our communities.

“I would urge anyone who is concerned about someone who may be involved in this activity to contact us or one of our partners.

“We continue to work with our colleagues in education, social care, transport networks and charities among others to tackle this issue in collaboration.”