Spotting the signs of county lines

4th June 2021 | County Lines

The Clewer Initiative

It can be difficult to know if a child or young adult is being targeted by county lines gangs.

Detective Inspector Anne Rannard from the National County Lines Coordination Centre has put together a helpful list of potential signs.

  • Being in possession of more than one mobile phone.
  • Do they have any obvious signs of wealth?
  • Do they appear nervous / unfamiliar with the area?
  • Are they travelling at unusual times / travelling out of their home area? (Possession of train or bus tickets).
  • Are they making / receiving excessive calls or texts?
  • Are they avoiding staff / police?
  • Has their behaviour changed – secretive or withdrawn or isolating from peers?
  • Are they going missing / unexplained absences from school, college, training, work or appointments?
  • Have they talked about being in debt?
  • Are they missing their bank card / is there any unusual activity on their account?
  • Have they been found with large quantities of drugs or weapons?
  • Expressions around invincibility, or not caring what happens – ‘others have their back?’
  • Possession of hotel keys or cards or keys to unknown premises.
  • Entering or leaving vehicles/taxis with unknown adult.
  • New friendships, often with the use of nicknames.

Downloadable posters and awareness raising resources are available at

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