By Bill Heaney
Police in Oban continue to combat the supply and misuse of drugs in Argyll with a key focus on county lines drug crimes.
County lines refers to criminals from larger cities in England, who expand their operations into smaller towns. They set out to exploit young and vulnerable people to sell drugs, carry cash – bringing violence, coercion and abuse. They may also take over a vulnerable person’s home, known as cuckooing.
In Argyll, Operation Bullfrog was launched to target county lines and to disrupt and dismantle those involved in serious and organised crime.
Five people have been arrested as part of police’s ongoing pro activity.
Detective Sergeant Peter MacMillan said: “We are aware of county lines activity in the Oban area and the damaging effect that cuckooing has on local communities. We are working hard to ensure Argyll is a hostile environment for those who want to engage in criminal activity.
“The public has a key role to play and we rely on their co-operation and support. It helps us when we know what is happening in your area. Have you noticed anything unusual, do you think a vulnerable person is being exploited?
“When these criminals are operating, there are certain indicators which suggest premises are being used for this purpose and there are a number of signs to look out for. Are lots of different people visiting the property at odd times of day and night? Has there been an increase in cars pulling up to that property for short periods of time, are the curtains or blinds closed all the time? Any small piece of information could prove to be significant.”
Over the coming days, officers will be distributing leaflets and posters in and around Oban to raise awareness of this matter and highlight to members of the public how they can help us and ensure that Oban is a place where criminals are not welcome. If anyone thinks this is happening in their area, please contact Police Scotland via 101.