NORTH Wales Police continue fighting the ‘frustrating’ battle of County Lines which seems to be a ‘never-ending story’.

The Leader has previously reported that the South Flintshire policing team pledged to conduct more search warrants to combat the issue.

Inspector Steve Owens said the battle continues to make South Flintshire a safe place to live.

He said: “As much as we are acting on intelligence received and addressing that intelligence, the next day we have further, new intelligence suggesting other types of criminal behaviour. It’s as frustrating as that.

“At the minute it seems to be a never-ending story, but that’s not to say we aren’t putting every effort into every bit of intelligence we receive.

“Everything we receive is assessed by its threat, harm, risk and vulnerability.

“Drug dealing at this level is significant and the victims and the users are vulnerable.

“It raises the question of are these people offenders or are they victims. They are becoming offenders by committing crime, but they are victims of criminal exploitation. We have got to look at every individual with fresh eyes.”

County Lines is the distributing of drugs in smaller, rural issues by criminal gangs in larger cities.

Cuckooing is a form of crime in which drug dealers take over the home of a vulnerable person in order to use it as a base for drug dealing.

The Inspector said that as well as the warrants to target drug dealers and victims of cuckooing, they also need to focus on acquisitive crime – the smaller crimes that are often committed to pay for drugs.

This year the team has seen a 14 per cent decrease in acquisitive crime, including burglaries, robberies and thefts, which equates to about 80 less crimes compared to last year.

Inspector Owens added: “What we need to do is make Flintshire south less attractive and the dealers to go elsewhere. We are trying to improve the quality of life and trying to maintain in the district we work. These people are affecting that.

“If we have people using drugs in the area, they have to pay for that usage and that in generally by criminal means so the residents of Flintshire south and beyond are at risk.

“The problem of acquisitive crime remains constant issue for us, but we have been more successful than last year.”

The Leader was told how two warrants were conducted at St Marys Mews and Pentre Lodge and two people were initially arrested on suspicion of concern to supply.

The inspector said: “Both warrants were in relation to County Lines, involving vulnerable people and potential cuckoo addresses.

“When people are being convicted through court, we are managing it far better through orders like restraining orders or CBO’s. It’s putting in longer term measures to prevent reoffending in the district.

“That’s an excellent result for acquisitive crime

“You would expect it to increase to pay for the drugs. As much as we feel like it’s never-ending we are making a difference.”