More than 50 dealers have been convicted of running “county lines” drugs operations from London to provincial towns and cities so far this year, prosecutors revealed today.

Five gang members face sentencing today for running a network supplying Class A crack cocaine and heroin from Hackney to Peterborough and Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire.

They are among 49 people across 10 class A drugs networks in London who have either admitted or been found guilty of conspiracy to supply offences since January 2018

Several more gang members from London have been arrested and convicted by county forces.

In June, Akeem Abiola, 20, of Hackney, was jailed at Basildon crown court after admitting two counts of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs.

Officials say the convictions reflect the commitment to dismantle the networks. More than 1,000 county line gangs are thought to operate in Britain, with nearly 300 from London. In total they generate an estimated £1.8 billion annual profit.

Gangs get calls from customers in seaside or county towns and use teenage couriers to ferry the drugs. The gangs use violence and intimidation, often taking over a vulnerable person’s home to store and sell drugs.

Recent prosecutions include those of operations in Swansea, Brighton, Hastings, Oxford and Norwich.

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