POLICE crack-down on drug dealing by arresting 15 people in one week – including a 17-year-old boy.

The 15 suspects were arrested on suspicion of various offences ranging from supplying heroin to possessing cash obtained through criminality.

Among those arrested were three men from Harrogate intercepted by plain clothed police officers, three men arrested after officers intercepted a taxi near Bradford and a man from Harrogate who was charged to court within 24 hours of his arrest.

The crack-down was part of a nation week by the National Crime Agency and Regional Organised Crime Units to disrupt criminals and safeguard vulnerable people.

“County lines continues to be a key priority for North Yorkshire Police,” said Chief Inspector Emma Aldred of North Yorkshire Police.

“This past week of action throws a spotlight on what is going on throughout the year to disrupt drug dealing and safeguard vulnerable people.

“The patrols and visits also allow us to gather valuable information that is used to build up a picture of what is happening in the area and forms part of a bigger picture that goes on to inform the action we take in the future.”

A key focus of county lines is safeguarding vulnerable people who are exploited by criminals.

Either those who are forced to travel from town to town selling drugs, or those who are victims of what is known as cuckooing.

This is where vulnerable people – often drug users or those with mental or physical disability – are forced into allowing drug dealers to stay in their homes which are then used as a base to store and sell drugs.

“We urge people to continue to report any concerns they have about drug dealing or vulnerable people in their neighbourhood,” added Insp Aldred.

“We will take action.”