POLICE made 21 arrests, seized more than £6,000 in cash and visited 55 homes potentially being exploited by county lines drug dealers during a week-long crackdown across West Mercia.

Police in Worcestershire and the surrounding areas executed six warrants and made 21 arrests for drug offences, with heroin and crack cocaine being seized, as part of a County Lines Intensification Week, led by the National Crime Agency.

Officers also visited 55 "cuckooed" homes which were believed to have been exploited by drug dealers.

Chief Superintendent Damian Barratt said: “West Mercia Police is no different to any other police force across the country where county lines drug dealers are exploiting vulnerable children, young people and adults.

“Organised crime groups are targeting our local communities, exploiting vulnerable people to transport drugs into our counties often, in a practice known as cuckooing, taking over the homes of vulnerable people to further facilitate drug dealing.

“These groups are often involved in serious violence and do not think twice about putting young and vulnerable people in frightening situations, causing them to make decisions that can ultimately change their lives and the lives of others forever and we’re determined to do all we can to stop this from happening.

“We’re committed to tackling serious and organised crime as part of protect and the work carried out during county lines intensification week is an example of the work teams carry out 24/7 365 days to protect people from harm.”

To report concerns about county lines drug-dealing, visit the Tell Us About section at westmercia.police.uk or report information anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.