A LONDON man has become the first alleged County Lines drug dealer in Wiltshire to be charged with human trafficking.

The Modern Slavery Act came into force in 2015, making it an offence for people to order people to sell drugs. The charge was intended to tackle the way so-called County Lines dealers were sending usually children around the country to peddle drugs like heroin and crack cocaine.

Since 2015, a significant number of county lines drug dealers have been sentenced by the Swindon courts. But none have been prosecuted under the modern slavery laws.

That changed earlier today, when Jordan Essien appeared before Swindon Magistrates' Court charged with being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine and heroin and arranging or facilitating the travel of a 17-year-old south London boy to Salisbury with a view to exploitation.

Essien, 19, of Queens Road, Lewisham, entered no pleas to the charges. He was remanded in custody for a plea hearing at Swindon Crown Court.

Following the court appearance, Det Sgt Geoff Smith urged people to report concerns over drug dealing: “Information from the public is vital in the fight against the scourge of drug supply and modern slavery, which often go together."