Uber drivers trained to help catch as many as 10,000 kids exploited in 'county lines' drug trafficking racket

UBER drivers are helping to smash the £500 million “county lines” drug networks across the country, we can reveal.

Cabbies are being taught how to snare as many of the 10,000 children being exploited to sell illicit substances.

Younger riders suspected of being ordered by gangs to sell drugs through their mobile phone “line” will be reported to cops.

Home Office Minister Victoria Atkins has been in talks with groups such as the taxi-hailing giant and the Licenced Private Hire Car Association to combat the scourge.

Tell-tale signs include looking out for youngsters travelling long distances alone or travelling during school hours.

Drivers have been told to monitor passengers who appear anxious or are being bombarded with a stream of messages and calls to their phone.

Youths are being enticed with the prospect of cash, designer clothing and luxury cars in return for running the errands.

Analysis by the National Crime Agency and National Police Chiefs’ Council has shown about 2,000 routes where organised gangs are drug running – making £500 million profit a year.

'SPOT UNEXPLAINED INJURIES'

Cops believe the gang leaders are mainly using young men aged 15 to 17 to transport the drugs often renting out Airbnb properties as a base.

There are 200 street gangs operating from the capital followed by the West Midlands and Merseyside.

Atkins says that “tackling county lines is a priority for this government” and now “specific engagement regarding county lines” has taken place with the transport organisations.

An Uber spokesman said: “We’re doing everything we can to help tackle dangerous county lines. We encourage drivers to call the police if they have any suspicions of assault or spot unexplained injuries.”

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A Home Office spokesman said: “County lines gang activity and the associated violence, drug dealing and exploitation has a devastating impact on young people, vulnerable adults and local communities.

“Tackling county lines is a priority for this Government. To do this requires a multi-agency approach, and we are working closely with law enforcement and businesses to prevent young people from being subject to this horrific abuse.

“Home Office officials have met with taxi firms and private hire companies to discuss what can be done to help drivers better identify warning signs of county lines abuse.”


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