Rival gangs are reportedly battling for control of the “county line”, which is said to be swamping Derby with Class A drugs, and Derbyshire Police are working to end their activity
Rival gangs are battling for control of a city by hiding cocaine and heroin in fake lottery tickets – and it’s been claimed it is earning them up to £400,000 every day.
Gangsters are understood to be flooding Derby with the Class A drugs and want control of the “county lines” in the Midlands settlement. The net, though, is closing in on gangsters as, last month, four men were jailed for a total of 25 years for running an Oliver Twist-style network of teenage drug dealers.
They had wrested control of Derby’s underworld after police rumbled the dominant rival gang led by Albanian brothers Edmund and Edward Haziri. At the height of their power, the Haziris sold drugs to 145 customers a day – often disguised in folded fake lottery tickets.
Police raided their hideouts in “simultaneous strikes” in March 2022, finding a huge casino complete with poker and blackjack tables in one basement. Edmund, Edward and their cronies were jailed for more than 70 years, letting the initial move in on their turf in Derby.
Last year, Derbyshire Constabulary stopped more than 80 cabs thought to be linked to county lines and “child criminal exploitation” – sparking calls for compulsory CCTV in Derby’s taxis. Derby’s gangs have hired registered taxi drivers to ferry drugs to young people bullied and intimidated into working as dealers.
The cases have left residents across the city worried about further crime. Rosie Philipson, 47, told The Sun: “Some of us living here are too scared to leave home, particularly at night. I’ve lived here all my life and it used to be such a lovely, safe place. But it’s gone downhill, and got worse after the Covid lockdown. It makes me feel sad. I don’t feel safe here any more but it’s no bloody wonder with everything going off here.”
Marsha Harrison, 73, told the same publication: “I think to myself it’s gone down the tip. There’s a bit more fear now when you are going around town. It has got worse since lockdown.”
But the recent convictions show Derbyshire Police are tackling county lines and other crimes. Speaking after the four men were jailed, Temporary Detective Inspector Kane Martin, who leads the force’s criminal exploitation teams, said: “This result is the final result of a lengthy and complex investigation into the ‘21’ line, which saw the dealing of dangerous drugs such as heroin and crack cocaine in Derby.
“This case shows how we proactively to target county lines drug dealing in our county, and our determination to catch offenders and disrupt the supply of drugs… County Lines drug dealing has a significant impact in the communities, causing devastation to the lives of those affected by addiction, exploiting vulnerable adults and young people and bringing with it associated serious violence and other crime.
“If you have any concerns or information about drug supply in your area, please report it to us as information from the public can be a vital part of our investigations into the sale and misuse of illegal drugs.”