County Lines

What is County Lines?

"County lines is the supply of class A drugs (primarily crack cocaine and heroin) from an urban hub into smaller towns or county locations. This is facilitated by a group who may not necessarily be affiliated as a gang, but who have developed networks across geographical boundaries to access and exploit existing drugs markets in these areas."

County Lines, Violence, Exploitation and Drug Supply, National Crime Agency, 2017

The Line is the telephone number used to order the drugs.

The children used in County Lines to move and sell the drugs are being Criminally Exploited by others.

Signs of exploitation are:

  • Presenting with physical injuries and or refusal to seek/receive medical treatment
  • In possession of large amounts of unexplained money
  • Expressing aggressive or intimidating views towards other groups of young people (some of whom may have been friends in the past)
  • Multiple mobile phones/frequent change of phone number
  • Frequently missing or missing for periods of time
  • New clothes/trainers
  • Travelling around a lot – train tickets/seen in taxis regularly/being seen in cars (often hire cars), possibly with unknown adults, on a regular basis
  • Associating with peers who are involved/suspected to be involved in gang related activity
  • Refuses/scared to enter certain areas
  • Drug related or violent offending involving weapons
  • Sibling involvement

Spot the signs of criminal exploitationCounty lines and child criminal exploitation Keep it moving - are you being the change 

The Slang Dictionary

This slang dictionary seeks to support parents, carers and professionals to better understand the language young people may be using and support them to safeguard young people.

If you have concerns

  • Call 999 - if there is immediate danger to someone, crime is in progress, you need police help immediately, someone is using violence or threatening violence, serious damage is or could be caused to property, a potential criminal has been disturbed or stopped
  • Call 101 - to report a crime that has already happened, seek crime prevention advice or make the police aware of any policing issues in your area.
  • Online reporting form on police website to include reporting non-urgent crimes including making the police aware of any policing issues in your area.
  • Customer First - for emergency safeguarding concerns, call 03456 066 167.
  • Suffolk Constabulary - A – Z of crime prevention advice | Gangs, Information and Advice - for parents, young people, further help (links to other agencies) and leaving a gang.
  • Crime Stoppers  0800 555 111 anonymous 24/7 phone number, that people can call to pass on information about crime; alternatively people can send information anonymously via the Giving Information Form. You don't have to give your name or any of your personal details. Calls are not traced, IP addresses are not tracked
  • - - use our secure online form to give us any information about crime 100% anonymously. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - 365 days a year.
  • Missing People SafeCall service - Missing People is the only charity in the UK which is dedicated to bringing missing children and adults back together with their families - | SafeCall Phone: 020 8392 5710 | SafeCall Email:  | 24/7 Helpline: 116 000 | 24/7 Helpline Email:
  • Suffolk Safeguarding Children Board - Gang's criminal exploitation and county lines
  • The Children’s Society - if you're a parent worried about your child being criminally exploited, you can read our guidance.
  • NSPCC - email or call 0808 800 5000
  • Family Lives - confidential helpline: 0808 800 2222
  • The Parent Hub on Suffolk County Council's website, is a source of parenting advice and support for parents and carers to help with their child's development. For more information please visit