POLICE seized £40,000 worth of class A drugs and approximately £10,000 cash while arresting 61 people in a week-long operation to crack down on county lines drugs gangs.

Operation Samphire launched on Monday with around 60 officers from departments across the force carrying out a series of warrants and proactive overt and covert patrols.

The operation took months of planning. Those arrested range in age from 14 to 53 and were put in cuffs for possession with intent to supply class A drugs, possession of a knife in a public place, breaching bail conditions and driving while disqualified.

Most warrants were carried out at the beginning of the week, with the end consisting mainly of proactive policing work to locate wanted offenders and drug dealers.

Specialist firearms officers assisted at some of the warrants to provide a specialist method of entry equipment and skills.

County lines refers to the drug dealing methodology which involves criminal networks often from larger cities expanding their activities into smaller towns.

Dealers typically use a single phone line to facilitate the supply of class A drugs to customers who are often vulnerable drug users. The line becomes a valuable brand and is protected with violence and intimidation.

Detective Inspector Paul Franklin led the operation. He said: "This has been an overwhelmingly positive week for Swindon.

"We’ve made a huge difference to the current county lines picture here in the town. Back in October, we arrested 63 people as part of Operation Jetway which was the first phase of our county lines action. By coming back and striking for a second time, we’ve been able to stop dealers trying to re-establish the market once again.

“I hope the public feel reassured by these results that we are fully committed to tackling county lines and the harm it causes to our communities.

“Our work now continues behind the scenes as we compile files for the Crown Prosecution Service and hopefully put these people before the courts to ensure justice is served.”