MORE than 50 people have been arrested in a week as part of action to tackle county lines drug dealing.

Weapons, drugs, mobile phone and cash have all been seized by Hampshire Police between October 7 and 11.

A total of 52 people were arrested in Hampshire during that time as part of a nationwide intensification on county lines drug dealing networks.

A total of £6,854 in cash, 46 mobile phones and 14 weapons - including a machete and two samurai swords - were seized as part of the operation.

Specialist officers carried out warrants at properties linked to drugs and pre-planned operations to disrupt and deter offender from county lines activity between October 7 to 11.

A total of 52 people suspected to be involved in county lines drug dealing were arrested during the week long activity.

Coordinated by the National County Lines Coordination Centre, results in our Hampshire and Isle of Wight region resulted in 48 men and 4 women being arrested, with another 20 vulnerable adults and children were safeguarded to protect them from further harm.

County lines networks are notorious for exploiting vulnerable or young people into becoming couriers who transport drugs from London into our towns and cities, with orders taken by phone.

Text messages were sent to hundreds of suspected drug users on four drug deal lines, two of which believed to be operating in the Portsmouth area, were shut down, as part of the week of action.

The messages directed users to support agencies while also making dealers aware we knew what they were using the number for.

Detective Superintendent Scott Mackechnie, who leads the response to drug-related harm at Hampshire Constabulary, said: "Tackling county lines and the misery it causes to our communities is an absolute priority and these results demonstrate the power of a coordinated response with our partner agencies to a complex problem that we're seeing in every area of the UK, not just in Hampshire.

“We play our part alongside staff working within health, social care, education and commissioned services to try to stopyoung people being drawn into county lines and keep watch for signs that young people they work with may have fallen prey to a county lines gang."