NORTH Wales Police has joined a multi-regional campaign to erect billboards and posters on the signs that a young person may be being exploited by drug gangs.

The Eyes Open campaign aims to highlight the lived experiences of young people who have been victim to 'county lines' drug exploitation. The ‘line’ refers to the mobile phone line set up by the criminal group to take drugs orders from customers, which young people are often asked to deliver.

The campaign, which was developed by Merseyside’s Violence Reduction Partnership and coordinated regionally by the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU), will see posters go up across North Wales, Merseyside and Lancashire. They will read: “Know what to look for. Know who to help."

Detective inspector Anne Rannard, Regional County Lines Coordinator from NWROCU said: “It’s crucial that we work together to tackle this issue which crosses borders throughout the North West and beyond.

"Young people are being exploited on a daily basis across the North West and this can only be combatted if the public understand what it is, know how to spot the signs and know what to do if they think a person they know is being exploited."

The education campaign will run in conjunction with the forces' key partners, local authorities and schools where pupils will receive a booklet being urged to report any worrying behaviour.

Detective chief inspector, Becky Smith from Lancashire Constabulary said: “By working together with other force’s in the North West, we’re are sending a strong message to criminals who exploit young people to run drugs, that this criminal activity will not be tolerated - regardless of where they choose to ‘do their business’ across the region.

‘It is important to remember that any young person, regardless of race, age, gender or living arrangements, can be at risk of grooming by county lines criminals and it is happening here in Lancashire, but by us all keeping our eyes open and being more aware of the signs that a young person may be being groomed, we can work together to protect our young people.”

To find out more about the signs a young person may be being groomed by drug gangs and for details of where to go for support or advice, visit