POLICE in the Scottish Borders are appealing to the public to report suspected ‘county lines’ activity which is when criminal gangs set up a drug dealing operation outside their usual area. 

Gangs move their dealing from big cities to smaller towns across Scotland in order to make more money.

Often, they target and exploit vulnerable young people to move their drugs for them, so that they don’t get caught.

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Drug gangs will then set up a new base in a rural area for a short time, often forcibly taking over the home of a vulnerable person and using local young people to act as dealers for them.

It causes serious harm to these young people and the communities that the drugs are taken to.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Children and young people involved in county lines need help and one of the best ways you can do this is by speaking up about your concerns to a trusted adult. This could be a parent, teacher, youth worker or police.

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“Alternatively, if you know or suspect who is responsible for exploiting a child or young person – you can be fearless in speaking up to our charity using the online form 100% anonymously.

“Officers can’t track your IP address or any contact details so nobody will ever know the information came from you but you could save someone’s life.”

Signs that a young person may be being exploited include: Changes in behaviour - Frequently missing from home, care or education - Travelling to other parts of the country - Unexplained money, gifts or new possessions - Unexplained injuries - Carrying weapons and getting involved in fights