A CHARITY is releasing short fictional stories filmed by young actors during lockdown to help prevent young people getting involved with ‘County Lines’ drug gangs.

Fearless.org, the youth service of Crimestoppers, is launching three short films this week on its YouTube channel, to raise awareness of how ‘County Lines’ drug gangs readily exploit young people to move and sell drugs.

‘Running the Lines’, originally shown in comprehensive schools last year across Wales, was made in collaboration with ‘It’s My Shout productions’ and is now available to watch on YouTube. Two new follow-up short videos have been produced during lockdown by the film’s young actors, exploring the consequences of being caught up in drug running, and the importance of friends looking out for each other. Welsh actors Jack Williams and Jude Blake, part of Bridgend Youth Theatre, worked with Director Mei Lewis to remotely film mock-interviews to get behind the characters story dilemmas.

Mei Lewis, Freelance Director for It’s My Shout Productions, said: "We saw an opportunity to get into the heads of these characters, understand why young people may be tempted to get involved in drug running – maybe for the money or glamour but also to learn about the real consequences too, such as exploitation, violence and threats posed by drug gangs.

"The young actors really stepped up to making the films remotely, shaping the characters stories and ultimately understanding that other young people may learn from these stories to help keep them safe from crime."

Like its parent site, Crimestoppers-uk.org, young people can pass on information about crime they’ve witnessed at Fearless.org 100 per cent anonymously and safely.

Ella Rabaiotti, Wales National Manager at Crimestoppers charity, added: "We’re sharing these three fictional films, inspired by accounts of real-life ‘County Lines’ cases, as part of an ongoing effort and campaign by Crimestoppers to raise public awareness of the impact of drug gangs on young people. We hope they help young people spot the signs of exploitation and understand the grim realities of drug running.

"We saw a 40 per cent increase in information about drug-related crime during the Covid-19 lockdown period. Therefore it’s important to educate and empower young people to be aware of the issues, feel safer and be confident to report crime - including the option to use Fearless.org anonymously."

To watch the Running the Lines film or to view the new characters stories, visit the campaign page. Or to find out more information about the Fearless project, visit Fearless.org.

To learn more about the signs of County Lines or to give information about drug dealing and related crime to the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, visit the website.