On 25 August 2021, officers applied to Newcastle County Court for a Drug Dealing Telecommunications Restriction Order (DDTRO) on a “county lines” drug line known as the “Danny” line.
The line operated from Leeds and Bradford in West Yorkshire, advertising crack cocaine and cocaine for sale in Harrogate.
The order was granted by the court, it came into effect yesterday and the line was taken down today (27 August 2021) just after 10am.
These civil orders allow police officers to take over a phone line and gives them the power to have it disconnected on a specified date and time. The order also prevents the phone number and therefore its associated contacts from being transferred to any other device.
These valuable, protected and often branded phone lines allow out-of-town heroin and cocaine dealers to send mass text messages advertising their drugs for sale and when and where they can be picked up. Taking the lines out means no adverts, no sales and no profit for drug dealers. The handset has also been disabled so it cannot be used again.
Inspector Penny Taylor of North Yorkshire Police, said:
These orders are a helpful disruption tactic to interrupt the flow of drugs. Police regularly seize mobile phones from suspected drug dealers, but the numbers and associated contacts can be reactivated within hours.
The orders allow us to take down the line and remove the phone number from circulation permanently, meaning it cannot ever be reactivated on another device, depriving the dealers of the key means to sell their drugs.
Drug dealing and the associated exploitation of vulnerable people is a foremost priority for North Yorkshire Police and we will continue to target dealers who prey on the vulnerable and cause misery in our communities.
The action is part of a wider Harrogate-based investigation into drugs supply known as Operation Network and has seen 18 people arrested since August 2020. Criminal proceedings are still in progress, therefore for legal reasons, no further details can be provided at this stage.
County lines is the term given to a form of drug dealing in which dealers based in larger towns and cities, recruit vulnerable people including children and other drug addicts to sell their drugs in smaller towns and cities. They often use violence and intimidation to control their recruits.