ESSEX Police dismantled 19 county drugs lines between January and March, a report released today has revealed.

During three months, officers arrested 170 people in 68 raids, more than half of whom were charged and put before courts the next day.

It follows the successful launch of the force’s Serious Violence Unit last summer established to dismantle and disrupt county drug lines, gangs and knife offenders in the county.

The report showed 19 people – vulnerable adults and children – exploited by gangs were safeguarded within the opening months of the year.

During the same period, the force seized £87,100 in cash under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, which allows it to confiscate or recover money believed to be from the proceeds of crime through civil court action.

And, in the past 12 months, there have been 280 fewer victims of street robberies and non-domestic assaults where people have suffered serious injuries.

Head of the Serious Violence Unit Detective Superintendent Scott Cannon said: “Although the social restrictions we’ve all experienced in the past year because of the pandemic meant fewer people moving about outside, county lines drugs continued to operate.

“But we’ve continued to tackle them by executing warrants, often using information given to us by members of the public, and this has resulted in a large number of arrests and a corresponding reduction in violence associated with drugs use.

“We’ve invested heavily in our capacity to target serious crime, drugs and violence and to safeguard vulnerable people who get involved in such criminality and this is paying off.”

If you suspect someone is involved in drugs and drug-dealing or is vulnerable and being preyed on by a gang, you can ring 999 if it’s an emergency, or otherwise report it online at or ring the police on 101.