Worthing a 'very hostile' place for drug dealers after recent police raids

Drug dealers are finding it harder and harder to settle on the streets of Worthing, the town's police chief has said.

Raids, searches and patrols are making the town a 'very hostile' place for drug dealing.

Police in Worthing are seeing success in their fight against drug dealers

Police in Worthing are seeing success in their fight against drug dealers

Chief Inspector Miles Ockwell, divisional commander for Adur and Worthing, said his officers are making real progress against big city gangs selling drugs on our streets.

He said: “Drug issues have a huge impact on the community and we want to send out a strong message that we will not tolerate this type of behaviour.

“We are carrying out daily action including the use of warrants, stop and search and proactive patrols to allow us to make arrests where required.

“Increases in the policing element of the council tax precept are allowing us to increase our numbers, visibility and resilience within Worthing and the surrounding areas."

Action since the start of 2019

Police in Worthing and Adur have arrested two people on suspicion of the conspiracy of drugs and a further two people for drug and knife offences since the start of 2019.

CI Ockwell added: “All of the proactive policing we have been conducting over recent weeks has made the area a very hostile one for those involved with drugs and the aim is for these people to realise that we are here, we are tackling this issue and people involved in this criminality will be dealt with accordingly.

“County line drug dealers are finding it increasingly difficult to settle in Worthing and this is a message we will continue to drive home.”

READ MORE: Our community remains safe but action on drug crime is needed, experts say

What is county lines drug dealing?

County lines is a term used by police and partner agencies to refer to drug networks - both gangs and organised crime groups - from large urban areas such as London, who use children and young people and vulnerable adults to carry out illegal activity on their behalf.

One of the most harrowing features of county lines drug dealing is violent gangs taking over the homes of vulnerable people.

This is known as 'cuckooing'.

CI Ockwell said: "Cuckooing means the criminals can operate from a property rather than on the street, making them less easy to identify, and often they move between different properties to cover their activity.

“We are conducting daily welfare checks of people who we believed may be being cuckooed and ensuring safeguarding actions are taken where required.

READ MORE: How you can spot county lines drug dealing in your area

Working with others to combat 'cuckooing'

“We work closely with our partnership agencies, including the housing association and Worthing District Council, and have regular meetings to discuss safeguarding issues such as emergency rehousing.

“When we visit a property of interest we will leave behind posters and leaflets to encourage neighbours and the vulnerable in question to report information to either us or Crimestoppers without delay.

“No one knows their neighbours like the public and we are urging everyone to aid us with our proactive policing and help us tackle this issue.”