A woman has been arrested and charged in connection with human and drug trafficking offences following an investigation between police in Aberdeen and Liverpool.
Search warrants were executed at addresses in both Old Aberdeen and the Kirkdale area of Liverpool on Tuesday, July 4.
It came after police received intelligence from a probe into county lines drug trafficking in the North East of Scotland.
The operation was carried out jointly by Merseyside Police and British Transport Police County Lines Taskforce.
A 34-year-old woman has been charged in connection with human trafficking and drugs offences and will be reported to the Procurator Fiscal.
A 56-year-old woman was also arrested and released pending further enquiries.
Inspector Claire Smith, of Police Scotland’s North East Partnerships, Preventions and Interventions, said: “I would like to thank our colleagues at Merseyside Police and British Transport Police for assisting with this operation.
“This operation underlines our commitment to the Serious Organised Crime Taskforce and the country’s Serious Organised Crime Strategy.
“The exploitation of children and young people into county lines and other drug dealing activities is a very real threat nationally.
“Working in partnership with our police colleagues across the United Kingdom and our partners in local authority and other agencies to safeguard exploited individuals will always remain our priority.
“We will continue our multi-agency work to raise awareness of the issue and to provide care and support to those effected by this type of criminality.
“If anyone has any concerns regarding the abuse of controlled drugs, or anyone who may be involved in supplying them, please contact officers on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
Detective inspector Gary Stratton, of Merseyside Police, added: “This operation was part of the proactive work carried out across force boundaries to ensure we take suspected county lines offenders off our streets.
“The organised criminal gangs who operate these county lines groom and exploit the most vulnerable people in our communities, including children and young people, to store and sell drugs.
“The youngsters they target are intimidated, coerced, threatened and often subject to violence. This joint policing operation is instrumental in not only putting offenders behind bars, but identifying and safeguarding young and vulnerable people that are being exploited.
“We cannot do this without the help of our communities. It’s vital everyone who cares for or knows young and vulnerable people understands the issue, knows the warning signs and reports it to police so we can take action.”
Detective inspector Brian Buddo, of British Transport Police’s County Lines Taskforce, said: “By working with our policing colleagues across county and country borders it maximises our ability to disrupt this crime type.
“As well as intercepting harmful drugs before they reach the community, we are able to safeguard those that might be involved before it is too late.
“We’re wholeheartedly dedicated to ensuring the rail network is a hostile environment for drug suppliers to move their commodities.”
For advice and information regarding county lines exploitation visit: https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/child-abuse-and-neglect/county-lines