ELEVEN men have been arrested following a joint investigation into County Lines drug supply into North Wales.

North Wales Police said the arrests were made on Wednesday as part of the ongoing Project Medusa, a Merseyside Police-led initiative set up to tackle drug dealing and child criminal exploitation across the regions.

Officers from both forces carried out patrols on foot and in marked and unmarked cars, during which 76 people were stop searched.

Of those, 11 men were arrested on suspicion of a variety of offences including possession with intent to supply Class A, B and C drugs, possession of an offensive weapon, money laundering, drug driving and driving while disqualified.

Another 20 people were dealt with for minor traffic offences and four vehicles were seized for their drivers having no insurance.

Three men were cautioned for possession of small amounts of cannabis, while 15 people will voluntarily attend interview with police at a later date.

Inspector Claire Shiland, of North Wales Police, said: "Yesterday’s arrests form just a part of our intensive work to tackle the issue of County Lines in north Wales.

"Drug dealers do not recognise borders, and as such we will continue to work closely with our colleagues from Merseyside to target those criminals that bring misery to our communities by their activities.

"Yesterday’s co-ordinated operation saw officers from both forces strike from Flintshire to Conwy, and I would emphasize that this work continues day in, day out , as we strive towards making north Wales the safest place in the UK."

Inspector Katie Wilkinson said: "Yesterday’s activity comes on the back of the work we’re carrying out day in, day out to arrest those involved in this type of criminality and shut down County Lines.

“The force’s Project Medusa, which consists of different types of operational activity, continues to use a variety of tactics, including working in partnership with other forces, to effectively disrupt and in turn bring down these OCGs.

“Those involved blight the communities they deal drugs in and it’s a sad fact that these criminals are known to target vulnerable people to do their dirty work on the ground, often coercing them with gifts and more often than not, violence.

“Despite the global pandemic, it is business as usual for these criminals, who will carry out this type of activity, despite the restrictions that are in place, risking the health of everyone they come into contact with, when we should be doing all we can to halt the spread of the virus.

“Ultimately everyone should be warned that if you get involved in crime, you risk facing the consequences. But when we identify vulnerable, exploited people during our enquiries, we ensure they are treated with sensitivity and understanding, and are offered the appropriate support. Our primary target is those who seek to use them for their own selfish gain.”

Members of the public can report any concerns to police on 999 if a crime is in progress, via 101, or the live webchat at https://www.northwales.police.uk/police-forces/north-wales-police/areas/live-chat/

Information can also be given anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or via their online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/give-information