More than £300,000 worth of drugs was seized and 68 people arrested as part of a police crackdown on county lines drugs gangs.

Officers also confiscated nine vehicles, 27 weapons, 73 phones and more than £16,000 in cash.

West Mercia Police were taking part in a national ‘week of action’ targeting county lines gangs, who often exploit children and young people, recruiting them to deal drugs on their behalf.

Malvern Gazette: Officers out and about in the community during the crackdown on county linesOfficers out and about in the community during the crackdown on county lines (Image: West Mercia Police)

The force said that from October 9-15, officers closed down four county lines and took dangerous people, weapons and drugs off the streets.

Police carried out safeguarding work to protect vulnerable people and children from being exploited by county lines gangs.

They visited schools, universities, and sports clubs to make them aware of the warning signs of county lines, and highlighted the ways they can report these signs if they see them.

Officers visited 127 properties on cuckooing visits and safeguarded 46 people.

Detective chief inspector Ian Wall said: “We are obviously pleased that we have arrested 68 people involved in county lines drug dealing and that we have closed four lines and seized drugs to the value of £319,000.

“But we have also placed a real focus on safeguarding those impacted by county lines drug dealing.

“Positive action by West Mercia Police and our partners has led to a significant number of young and vulnerable people being diverted away from becoming further involved with county lines offending.

“Serious and Organised Crime and County Lines drug dealing remains a priority for West Mercia Police.

“We will work tirelessly to make sure our communities are unwelcoming for criminals travelling across our policing borders. We will continue to prioritise the pursuit and prosecution of those who bring drugs into our counties, commit violence, and exploit vulnerable members of our communities.”

Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said: “I regularly hear about the negative impacts caused on our streets caused by serious drug offences and I am committed to making a difference.

“I will continue to invest in West Mercia Police with the resources and tools it needs to continue to succeed in its operations and bring criminals to justice.

“The achievements made during the County Lines Intensification week shine a spotlight on the dedicated serving officers across West Mercia.”