A BOY of 14 was arrested with crack cocaine during a nationwide operation on “county lines”.

British Transport Police’s County Lines Taskforce has been working across England, Wales and Scotland to tackle gangs using the railway to move drugs and cash.

The force aims to safeguard the vulnerable children exploited by county lines gangs who use them as mules to move drugs and cash and to remove this type of criminal activity from the railway network.

In January, a 14-year-old boy was arrested at Brighton Station with 12 rocks of crack cocaine.

Efforts are made to safeguard any vulnerable or exploited person arrested as part of county lines, referring them to services built to encourage and support them away from dangerous criminal activity.

Thirteen people have been referred to the National Referral Mechanism for safeguarding since the taskforce began in December.

Taskforce lead Detective Superintendent Gareth Williams said: “Our taskforce is in a unique position, we operate nationally and target county lines activity across the railway network.

“Our experience has proven that gangs who use the railway network rely on younger people to move drugs.

“These individuals are victims, forced through exploitation or intimidation into desperate situations and it’s always our priority to make support available that can get them out of harm and away from crime.”

County lines is a term used to describe gangs involved in exporting drugs into

areas using mobile phone lines.