Four county lines – criminal organisations dealing drugs across the country – have been identified in York.

And the city is one of the “hardest hit areas” for drug offences, according to a report prepared for North Yorkshire police, fire and crime panel.

The county has seen a steady increase in drug crime over the past three years – which the report says is linked to more serious offences including modern slavery, human trafficking, fraud, violence, kidnap and serious assault.


Julia Mulligan told a meeting of the panel that government funding had so far failed to fully recognise the impact of cross-county drug dealing in the region, while police couldn’t “arrest their way out of the problem”.

Mrs Mulligan emphasised the need for multiple agencies to work together to prevent vulnerable people becoming involved in county lines, saying that “the police service (can’t) arrest their way out of the problem”.

Heroin and cocaine

Library photograph: YorkMix
The report says police do not know the extent of demand for dugs in North Yorkshire:

  • Police intelligence highlights an unknown demand from affluent middle class use linked to cocaine, which though likely to be small will increase the demand on county lines dealing and Class A supply into the county.

    [Gangs] target those places that are best connected by rail and road links: Harrogate is impacted by seven lines, York by four, Scarborough and Whitby by two, and Skipton by one.

    Six lines originate in West Yorkshire, three in Manchester, two in Liverpool, one in Cleveland.

The main drugs supplied are heroin and crack cocaine, the report reveals, adding: “These lines have also been linked to child sexual exploitation, firearms, the trafficking of young people both local and from out of area, the exploitation of vulnerable adults, and to serious violence.”

It adds that North Yorkshire saw the highest increase in drug deaths in the past year in the Yorkshire and Humberside region.