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10:29 AM 14th July 2020

Documentary To Show Transpennine Express And British Transport Police Disrupting County Lines Drug Gangs

The fifth episode of The Railway 24/7 airs on Wednesday 15 July at 8pm on Channel 5
The fifth instalment in the series will show how the British Transport Police and TransPennine Express are working together to combat county lines drug dealing
Installation of knife arches, teams of security ambassadors and playing Vivaldi through tannoys are all used in the fight against crime

With more ‘county lines’ drug gangs using the rail network to transport drugs from big cities to smaller towns, the British Transport Police and TransPennine Express are cracking down on the illegal activity and a documentary is set to air the operation in action.

The fifth episode of The Railway 24/7, the documentary series going behind the scenes at TransPennine Express (TPE) will be broadcast at 8pm on Wednesday 15 July and will show how the rail operator is working with the authorities to bring a stop to the rising issue of county lines drug gangs.

As number plate recognition cameras have become more successful at identifying suspicious cars, more and more drug gangs are turning to using the trains to transport illegal substances.

The episode will feature action at the Hull Paragon Interchange, where plain clothed officers from the British Transport Police launch a sting operation to try to catch members of the gangs passing through the station. They stop a number of suspects before arresting two men and after a search of their homes police discover a substantial quantity of drugs.

Dan Fox
Dan Fox
New group station manager Dan Fox is determined to stamp out antisocial behaviour in Hull. His team of ‘security ambassadors’ face everything from a passenger having an epileptic seizure, to suspected drug users using the station toilets.

The episode will show how in just two months Dan has halved theft and criminal damage in the station and he’s now taken to playing Vivaldi through the tannoy to deter antisocial behaviour.

With crime up 12 per cent* across Britain’s railways, the British Transport Police are cracking down. The documentary will show officers using a knife arch at Manchester Piccadilly Station to stop anyone carrying an offensive weapon and at York Station, rookie officer Chris Short must deal with a wave of drunk and disorderly passengers.

Liz Collins, Interim Managing Director at TransPennine Express, said:
“Working with the British Transport Police, we have cracked down on the number of county lines drug gangs using our network.”

“The safety of our passengers and customers at our stations and on our trains is of the upmost importance to us and we will continue to work with the authorities to ensure we do everything within our power to continue to achieve this.”

“This episode in the documentary series is certainly full of action and suspense and we hope viewers enjoy watching our team come down hard on anti-social behaviour across the network.”

Detective Superintendent Gareth Williams said:
“Since December, British Transport Police has intensified its operations targeting County Lines. Our Taskforce, funded by the Home Office, has been carrying out operations almost daily across the railway network, including at Hull Paragon Interchange.

“These operations are designed to tackle the movement of drugs on the railway and safeguard vulnerable children who are often exploited or intimidated by gangs into couriering drugs.

“The railway industry has been invaluable in this regard, with train operators training their staff to spot key indicators of criminal exploitation.

“Key indicators include a young child travelling long distances, alone with a large amount of cash, or avoiding any sort of authority at stations. These indicators are small but invaluable and help inform where we target next. There is an evolving understanding of County Lines offending and we are prepared to tackle it, wherever the intelligence leads us.”

The fifth episode of The Railway 24/7, made by Blast! Films, will be aired on Wednesday 15th July at 8pm on Channel 5.


*Statistics from the British Transport Police - https://media.btp.police.uk/r/16745/british_transport_police_releases_annual_crime_st