A chief inspector has warned that her borough is being targeted by drug dealers who are travelling in from London and recruiting children on our streets.

Hertsmere police chief Clare Smith says county lines gangs are operating within Hertsmere and is appealing for parents to make sure their children are safe and not getting mixed up in the drugs network.

County Lines is the name given to describe drug dealing, which involves criminal networks from urban areas expanding their activities into smaller towns and rural areas.

In a message to the people of Hertsmere, CI Smith said: “Help us to help remove drugs from our streets. Although we don’t have a big problem in Hertsmere, we are targeted by people coming in from London.

“We know who our drug dealers are and we regularly work with the Met and other forces to regularly visit suspected dealers, we make arrests when we can and carry out drugs warrants based on information from the public. Without this, it’s very difficult to build up a picture of the true extent of it and make a positive difference.”

Borehamwood Times:

Chief Inspector Clare Smith

She said: “However, it’s not all about arresting people as sadly, some of these people have been exploited by groups of people, known as County Lines gangs. They recruit children to deal their drugs and sometimes develop controlling relationships with them that can include violence or child sexual exploitation. These gangs also take over homes belonging to vulnerable people to develop a drug dealing base. If you have been approached in this way, please speak to us in confidence so that we can help you.

“Please also check what your older children are getting up to – unfortunately it has become more common for professionals mostly aged in their 20s and 30s to use cocaine recreationally and whilst they may not think they are doing anything wrong, they are in fact contributing to the wider drug problem.”

She said: “For those who need the help of support services, we will work with our partner agencies to help them longer-term to break the cycle. This is turn, will help reduce crime as drugs users often commit crime to fuel their habits, including burglary, theft from motor vehicles and shoplifting.”

You can report information online at www.herts.police.uk/Report, call the non-emergency number 101 or if you’d like to remain completely anonymous call Crimestoppers on 0800555111.