Wigan Police are working to stop gangs from grooming children and vulnerable adults to commit serious crimes.
Officers for GMP Wigan West, as part of the wider authority, has teamed up with national agencies to fight exploitation.
‘County Lines’ is a crime which sees offenders moving children or vulnerable people for the purposes of selling drugs.
They can be trafficked around the local area, or taken to areas where they have no obvious links or connections.
Victims could also be criminally exploited and forced to carry out other crimes such as arson, violent offences, criminal damage, assault or robbery. They could also be forced to store firearms or money.
In a public appeal, officers at GMP Wigan West, said: “Offenders groom, threaten, force or trick victims into carrying out their crimes.
“If the victim doesn’t comply the offender may use violence, or threaten the victim’s family to ensure they get what they want.
“Gifts may be given to the victim as a reward to keep them on side which leads them to becoming trapped in a spiral of intimidation, fear and debt.
Some signs that a young or vulnerable person could be “trapped” and need help are:
Young people going missing/travelling to areas where they have no obvious links or connections
School absence or missing from school
Money, clothes or accessories which they are unable to account for
Receiving an excessive amount of texts and phone calls
Relationships with controlling/older individuals or groups
Significant decline in school results / performance
Self-harm or significant changes in emotional wellbeing
Anyone with concerns either about themselves or somebody else should contact GMP via the LiveChat facility on the website or 101 in a non-emergency situation.
You can also report details anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Always dial 999 when there is an emergency or an immediate threat to life.
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