THE Home Secretary is on a mission to “roll up” ‘county lines’ drugs activity in North Wales.

Priti Patel told the North Wales Chronicle there was a determination to fight the prevalence of drugs in our communities.

She also pledged a commitment to safeguard young and vulnerable people being “preyed on” by criminals.

Her words came hours after British Transport Police North Wales and North Wales Police staged operations to disrupt county lines activity in Bangor on Tuesday seeing houses raided and passengers intercepted at Bangor railway station.

Mrs Patel, Tory candidate for Witham, during her visit to the Chronicle’s Penrhyn Road office in Colwyn Bay while election campaigning on Wednesday, said “Our mission is to roll up county lines and stop these pervasive criminal drug activities.

“Early in October, I announced a specific fund to roll up county lines for police, and with specific support for British Transport Police.

“We know drugs travel through trains, through taxis, and by individuals in cars and by roads. Transport police can do more working alongside police officers and by using stop and search powers.” There was also an aim to recruit more frontline police officers and transport police.

According to the National Crime Agency ‘county lines’ is when city drug gangs expand operations to smaller towns. Criminal networks target children and vulnerable adults to deal drugs using mobile phone lines.

Mrs Patel added: “We know gangs bring drugs to North Wales via a variety of routes, there are links to places like South America, they even use private yachts for smuggling, the networks they use are extraordinary.

“It’s a massive problem. Young and vulnerable people are under the command of these gangs. We have to stop them from becoming prey to these awful criminals, break the networks. There will be more of this action visible in the future.”

Det. Sergeant Dafydd Curry of North Wales Police said:

said: “County Lines is a complex issue which needs a multi-faceted approach. Whilst we continue to disrupt the day to day operations of those dealing illegal drugs, we also work closely with other agencies to ensure vulnerable people in our community are not targeted.

“We undertake education programmes in our local schools, and we warn people against the dangers of ‘Cuckooing”. Where necessary, we impose Closure Orders on properties we know are being used for illegal activities.

“The last two days have seen an intensive amount of action in the Bangor area, yielding significant seizures of drugs cash and weapons.

“As always, we rely on the information we receive from the public to help us keep our community safe, and if anyone has any information they should contact us on 101, via our live webchat, or in confidence via CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111.”