CANNABIS and a knuckle duster were among the objects confiscated by police during an operation carried out on trains.

Sussex Police initiated the operation to try and stop smuggling on the train network connecting Hastings and Eastbourne to London.

British Transport Police, BTP, Border Force and UK Immigration Enforcement have also contributed to the operation.

The Sussex team, Discovery, is focusing on young people and other vulnerable people using the train lines to move drugs and other illegal objects.

At Hastings railway station on July 1, officers working with BTP, carried out 17 stop searches for drugs and six-stop and account interventions.

They made three seizures of cannabis, detected by police dogs, and seized an offensive weapon... a knuckle duster, a metal guard worn over the knuckles in fighting to increase the effect of blows.

One person was given a community resolution requirement for possession of cannabis.

Three people were subject to Border Force enquiries, and one immigration enquiry is continuing into the legal status in this country of one of those who was stopped during the operation.

At Eastbourne railway station on July 2, the Sussex officers, working with BTP, DWP and Immigration Enforcement, carried out 13 stop searches.

The Argus: Sussex Police operation at Hasting and Eastbourne train stationsSussex Police operation at Hasting and Eastbourne train stations

Officers arrested two people who had warrants out against them, they carried out a community resolution outcome for possession of cannabis and made three seizures of cannabis, again with the assistance of police dogs.

Eight people were referred to Department for Work and Pensions investigators for investigation of benefit fraud offences. Four people were referred to Immigration Enforcement for further investigation of their status in the UK.

Detective Sergeant Greg Montier said: "We're seeing young people involved in County Lines become a growing concern in East Sussex as elsewhere.

"One of our tactics is to conduct these highly visible targeted days to disrupt these gangs who try to operate on the railway lines and, by using partners from safeguarding units, offer the support vulnerable people need to disassociate themselves from these groups and drug criminality.

"Discovery in East Sussex brings together local police officers, fire officers, Stop the Traffik Hastings, King's Church and staff from Hastings and Rother Councils, DWP, HMRC, Home Office Immigration, the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, and local charities.

"All with the aim of seeing victims of modern slavery rescued and supported, and perpetrators brought to justice."

For advice and information on spotting signs of modern slavery and how to report it visit the Sussex Police website.