DOZENS were arrested as part of a police operation between North Wales and Merseyside.

A machete, cash and Class A drugs were seized last week as North Wales took part in the national County Lines intensification week to target drug dealers across the region.

The intensification week took place between Monday, May 17, and Sunday, May 23, and included the execution of warrants, joint operations between forces and intercepting vehicles potentially involved in county lines activity

Detective Inspector Simon Kneale said: “The operation was aimed at those dealing drugs on our streets and involved search warrants of premises being used for illegal activity, as well as a joint operation between the North Wales interceptors and Merseyside Police.”

Results include:

• A machete seized

• Cash and class A drugs, including crack cocaine, seized

• 3 County lines dismantled

• 3 vulnerable people identified, who we will now aim to protect from further criminal exploitation

• 21 people arrested

• 47 stop searches of vehicles and persons

DI Kneale added: "Over the course of the week search warrants executed in Wrexham, Flintshire and Denbighshire under the Misuse of Drugs Act resulted in arrests and the seizure of illicit drugs, weapons, including a machete, numerous mobile phones and cash, all of which are believed to have been obtained from criminal activity.

“Officers were also in hotspot areas to target individuals involved in County Lines drug dealing and exploitation, carrying out stop searches and high visibility disruption tactics. We also targeted the road network using our roads policing unit and the Police Interceptor Teams.”

Alongside this the #lookcloser campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the issues and highlight the signs to look out for, reached over 65,000 people and led to positive engagement with the Children’s Society.

Safeguarding videos were also shared with Youth Justice, schools and colleges, the key objective being to safeguard and protect those that are at risk of being victims of criminal exploitation, including vulnerable adults and children.

Di Kneale continued: “If we can raise awareness of the issue and highlight the signs to look out for, we hope to reduce the reach of these criminals and help to make North Wales the safest place in the UK.”

Deputy Chief Constable Richard Debicki added: “The week was a great success and I am grateful for the massive amount of work which went into this from all the officers involved here and across the region. Pursuing those who cause harm to our communities is our daily business and our pursuit of those who distribute drugs will continue 24/7.

“We will continue to disrupt these criminal gangs wherever possible. We will not tolerate them and they can expect firm and relentless action against them. Keeping our communities safe remains our top priority."

Newly appointed North Wales PCC Andy Dunbobbin said: “This week was clearly a success and I hope that news of these warrants and arrests will reassure local people that North Wales should not be seen as a soft target by criminal gangs.

“County lines is an appalling crime which often involves serious violence. Children and vulnerable adults are exploited as part of these networks and those involved care very little for the enormous impact their actions have on the wider law abiding community.

“The distribution of controlled drugs will not be tolerated and I will fully support the force in its continued endeavors to pursue those who cause harm to our communities."