County Lines

For local up-to-date guidance and an explanation about County Lines, please follow this link to the Leicestershire Police webpage, which includes signs to look out for.

County Lines is a term used to describe gangs, groups or drug networks that supply drugs from urban to suburban areas across the country, including market and coastal towns, using dedicated mobile phone lines or 'deal lines'. They exploit children and vulnerable adults to move the drugs and money to and from the urban area, and to store the drugs in local markets. They will often use intimidation, violence and weapons, including knives and firearms.

Below is a 'County Lines' Home Office poster, localised for use across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

If you have any concerns about a child or vulnerable adult, please follow the advice under the 'Report Concerns' buttons above.

Home Office publishes updated guidance to help frontline workers identify and protect victims of county lines gangs

County lines refers to a model used by criminal gangs, whereby urban gangs supply drugs to suburban areas and market and coastal towns. These gangs frequently exploit children and vulnerable adults to courier drugs and money. Some vulnerable adults have their homes taken over by the gangs (cuckooing) using force or coercion.

To support policing and other statutory frontline staff – particularly those who work with children, young people and vulnerable adults – in identifying potential victims of this type of criminal exploitation, the Home Office has updated its County Lines guidance. It sets out the signs to look for in potential victims, and what action staff should take so that potential victims get the support and help they need. The document supplements an organisation's existing safeguarding policies. The guidance is available here:

Alongside the guidance, there are resources (available here: to help policing and statutory staff recognise the signs to look out for, that could indicate that someone is a victim of county lines gangs.

The Home Office is also raising awareness of county lines across a range of non-statutory sectors. These are:

Materials for the social housing sector are currently being developed and will be available shortly. Finally, the Home Office has also produced social media assets (available here: which they encourage PCCs to use in their own public-facing county lines awareness raising work.

Police and Crime Commissioners are encouraged to highlight these materials both to their force, as well as local stakeholders, to raise awareness of county lines and how to spot potential victims.