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Police arrest a number of individuals for county line drug offences

View profile for Colin Rawson
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Was my arrest unlawful?

There appears to be no let up in efforts made by the police in tackling drug related offending, in particular county lines drug dealing.

In a recent police push, between 11 October and 17 October:

  • 1,468 people were arrested
  • 2,664 vulnerable people, including 2,209 children, were identified
  • 6kg of crack cocaine, 28.8kg of heroin and 26.8kg of cocaine were seized,
  • £1,254,384 in cash was seized; and
  • 289 weapons were found including 49 guns and 120 knives.

Much of this offending will be linked to the use of mobile phones, in particular 'graft' phones. A graft phone is the main point of contact between the drug dealers and the drug users on the street. The drug dealer will send flare messages to their ‘clients’ advertising what drugs they have available and how much they are.

A graft phone is an important commodity for organised crimes groups. These phones will often be passed between individuals, making it harder for the authorities to detect them. 

The police appear to be using various surveillance techniques in order to capture and bring these individuals to justice.

Mobile phone evidence is a key aspect in bringing offenders to justice but can also play a major part in defending the innocent.

Our criminal defence department is currently representing a number of individuals charged with county line drug offences. In some of these cases we have instructed experts to analyse the mobile phone evidence to challenge the prosecution’s case.

Full examination of text messages can be undertaken and cell site surveys can take place, identifying the common locations and movements of the graft phones and even work out the likely area the person in control of these phones may live with the first and last cell location each day. This will provide a valuable defence to individuals who are not linked to these locations. 

For individuals charged, further surveys can take place in relation to co-location and non co location analysis. This can examine cell location within a five minute period to see whether the graft phone and an individual's personal phone are connecting with the same cell mast or whether they are a significant distance apart within that time frame.

If you are on bail or released under investigation for these offences and require a department who specialises in this area of law please do not hesitate to contact the team on 0161 696 6188 for confidential advice or complete an online enquiry form.