What is County Lines?

Gangs and organised criminal networks export illegal drugs out of bigger cities into smaller towns.

They use dedicated mobile phone lines to make drug deals.

They can exploit children and vulnerable adults to move and store drugs and money.

They will often use coercion, intimidation, violence and weapons.


Catch On

Key Stage 3
Catch On is a free educational resource about Child Exploitation aimed at pupils in Years 7 and 8 (aged 11-13). The Catch On resource contains a suite of options for a single lesson or series of lessons exploring the topic of grooming and . . . exploitation. Materials include lesson slides with embedded links and videos; comprehensive lesson plan guidance with photocopiable activity sheets; a handbook for parents and professionals.
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County Lines

Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4
In 2017, the Home Office, National Crime Agency, the National Police Chief’s Council, the Children’s Society and Victim Support, as well as a number of smaller, individual organisations have all released new guidance on approaching the . . . county lines problem as awareness around the issue continues to grow. Recognising young people at risk and intervening early is a key part of the strategy. This resource package is aimed at raising awareness about the county lines problem and helping young people to maintain resilience against becoming involved in it.
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Not In Our Community: Grooming and Exploitation

Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Higher Education

Developed with young people, Not In Our Community means working together to protect against grooming and exploitation. This website contains education resources for year 6 students and above. Includes county lines materials

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Abianda is a London-based social enterprise that works with young women affected by gangs and county lines, and the professionals who support them.



Childline is here to help anyone under 19 in the UK with any issue they’re going through. You can talk about anything. Whether it’s something big or small, our trained counsellors are here to support you. Childline is free, confidential and available any time, day or night. Get help and advice about a wide range of issues, call us on 0800 1111, talk to a counsellor online, send Childline an email or post on the message boards.

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Children’s Society

Children as young as six are being forced to carry and sell drugs far away from their homes. They are made to skip school, sleep in drug dens, keep secrets from their loved ones. They are treated as criminals when they often feel trapped in a hopeless situation.


County Lines (Fearless)

County Lines is a very serious issue where criminal gangs set up a drug dealing operation in a place outside their usual operating area. Gangs will move their drug dealing from big cities (e.g. London, Manchester, Liverpool etc.) to smaller towns in order to make more money. This can have a really big effect on the community who live there and bring with it serious criminal behaviour.


Loan Sharks: Illegal money lending

Illegal money lending supports drug markets. People often go to the same “friends” in the community to borrow money at extortionate rates to pay off drug debt. Devon and Cornwall Police will pass on the intel to the England Illegal Money Lending Team.

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29/08/2023 : Hundreds of children thrown out of school in English county lines hotspots

29/08/2023 : Excluded pupils in West Midlands at risk of criminal exploitation

24/04/2023 : Monmouthshire: Drugs gangs target children of teachers and GPs

19/04/2023 : The heart-breaking home video that proves no child is beyond County Lines gangs
Daily Mail

Documents and Publications

#LookCloser: A briefing for professionals working with young people at risk of child exploitation and abuse

#LookCloser is a partnership campaign aiming to raise awareness of child exploitation and abuse, . . . with a particular focus on public spaces.

Criminal exploitation of children and vulnerable adults: county lines

This guidance outlines what county lines (and associated criminal exploitation) is, signs to look . . . for in potential victims, and what to do about it. It does not provide information about the entirety of the county lines issue. The document is a supplement to an organisation’s existing safeguarding policies, to help identify and protect those exploited through this criminal activity.


County Lines—breaking chains of abuse & exploitation

In this episode Andy McClenaghan is joined by Lucy Dacey, National Programme Manager for The Children’s Society’s . . . Disrupting Exploitation Programme and Bekah Pierre, Professional Officer with BASW England.
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Criminal Exploitation and county lines

In this episode, we discuss criminal exploitation and county lines. The experts are Dave, a parent whose son, Mark, . . . became involved with gangs, and Catherine, a youth justice manager who worked with Dave and Mark and has expertise in gangs and county lines.
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Certificate in Understanding County Lines

Child exploitation and drugs trafficking are illegal throughout the UK. All school staff should be aware of indicators . . . that children are at-risk from, or are involved in, serious violent crime, including county lines, as part of their statutory safeguarding duties. This course provides you with the knowledge and skills to understand, identify and support children who may be vulnerable to exploitation and at risk of being recruited into county lines.
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Gang Related Issues and County Lines

This online Gang Related Issues and County Lines training has been designed to give learners a better understanding of . . . gang issues and county lines by looking at these terms, what they mean and the signs and symptoms of abuse. The online CPD approved safeguarding training also looks at Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE), its definition and how to recognise it and much more.
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Interactive Exploitation resources

Anywhere Kids

Delivered as a collaboration with the Humber Modern Slavery Partnership, Anywhere Kids is an animation created by My Pockets which demonstrates the consequences around being groomed and exploited.

Ryan’s Story (16+)

Ryan’s Story is an interactive film whereby viewers can choose to see what happens next based on the decision that they make on behalf of the main character. The storylines follow paths based on Ryan joining either a local or out of town organised crime group. From there, the character of Ryan wrestles with his conscience and the consequences of the violent world he inhabits.

Chloe’s Story (16+)

Co-written and made with young people, Chloe tells the story of a young girl and her friend groomed online by a dangerous perpetrator.

  • 15 – 16 years old is the most common age of children being used to courier drugs.
  • Both boys and girls are exploited.
  • White British children are targeted.
  • Often social media is used to make initial contact.
  • Class A drug users are often targeted so that gangs can cuckoo them.

Developed with young people, Not In Our Community means working together to protect against grooming and exploitation.