Recognition for officers who jailed County Lines drug dealers whilst safeguarding the vulnerable

Teams of officers and staff who have worked to secure convictions against County Lines offenders whilst safeguarding those exploited by criminal gangs, have been commended by the Chief Constable.


The team working on Operation Feast were commended for their work targeting those seeking to bring drugs into the county, whilst the team working on Operation Rampart were commended for their work safeguarding vulnerable people targeted by County Lines gangs.


Op Feast was a year-long investigation which successfully identified  criminal gang conspirators operating between Merseyside and Barrow to bring drugs into the south of the county.


Officers worked effectively alongside colleagues at Merseyside Police, resulting in co-ordinated strikes in Merseyside and Cumbria in August 2021.


The leader of the Organised Crime Group, a 20-year-old man from Liverpool, was sentenced to nine years and nine months in prison.


Commended for Op Feast were Detective Inspector Jamie Eaton who supervised and led the investigation, Detective Constable Alex Brown and Detective Sergeant Jamie Dickens.


Detective Superintendent Jenny Beattie said: “A combination of hard work and outstanding detective work culminated in significant sentences being secured against those who conspired to bring Class A drugs into the county.


“This ‘flagship’ investigation also owed much to the close relationship forged with colleagues at Merseyside Police – a relationship which will continue to assist both forces in bringing serious offenders to justice moving forward.”


Also commended were the Op Rampart team who have worked to put in place systems and relationships with partner organisations with the aim of identifying and safeguarding those being exploited or in danger of being exploited by criminal County Lines gangs.


Those commended for Op Rampart included Detective Sergeant David Hetherington who oversaw the operation,  Detective Sergeant Rob Hayes, who managed and oversaw operations where criminality was identified, Sergeant Kevin Milby and Analyst Laura Webster.


Police Sergeant Milby’s role as Prevent and Diversion Officer involved more than 550 visits in an 18 month period to those at risk of being exploited for County Lines drug dealing, whilst Laura Webster worked tirelessly examining thousands of records and data


Detective Superintendent Jenny Beattie said: “Those involved in Op Rampart have undoubtedly reduced crime and the effectiveness of organised criminal gangs whilst, most importantly, safeguarding often young and vulnerable people, showing that there are alternatives to a life of drugs, crime and exploitation.


“All of those commended by the Chief Constable have demonstrated a passion for protecting vulnerable people and contributing significantly to the Constabulary’s efforts to smash organised criminal gangs seeking to operate in the county.”

The commendations were given at a ceremony at Penrith’s Roundthorn Hotel on Wednesday evening (24 April)

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