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Partnership work to tackle county lines in Oswestry wins national award

A joint initiative aimed at tackling county lines and associated cuckooing in Oswestry has been recognised at a national award ceremony that celebrates work done to tackle anti-social behaviour.

On Wednesday 3 April at the Resolve Anti-Social Behaviour Awards, Shropshire Towns and Rural Housing (STAR Housing) was awarded 'Best Project' 2019 for  'Operation Whistle'.

The intelligence led joint operation sees STAR Housing work in partnership with West Mercia Police against County Lines drug dealing and Cuckooing.

Officers from Shropshire's Local Organised Crime Team and Oswestry Safer Neighbourhood Team work closely with the housing group as part of Operation Whistle to review ten properties each month that are considered to be most vulnerable to cuckooing.

The residents of the identified properties are visited by STAR Housing and or police with measures put in place to make the property less attractive to county lines drug dealers, including a notice stating they are at risk of eviction.

The two year project culminated in a closure order on a property in Oswestry that was causing significant problems to the local community and had elements of both County Lines drug dealing and Cuckooing.

As part of Operation Whistle,  Shropshire Recovery Partnership also offers help to anyone suffering with drug addiction.

STAR Housing Neighbourhoods Manager Martin Whitelegg who attended the awards evening had this to say "I am delighted that STAR housing has won the award for 'Best Project' at the Resolve Anti-Social Behaviour Awards 2019. This recognises our commitment to work with our partners to deal with the drug problems blighting our communities and the quality of life of our tenants".

Shropshire Superintendent Mo Lansdale said: "I'm really pleased with the work our teams are doing across Shropshire to tackle county lines and associated cuckoo-ing in particular in Oswestry where our local organised crime team and the local safer neighbourhood team has worked very closely with STAR Housing to safeguard some of our most vulnerable residents and it is great this work has been recognised.

"This partnership work is a fantastic example of how police are working together with other agencies to take action against those involved in serious and organised crime as part of our Protect campaign."

STAR Housing is an Arm's Length Management Organisation who manages housing stock for Shropshire Council.

Protect is West Mercia Police's response to tackling serious and organised crime. Visit to find out more.


ISSUED: 9am 040419 EH

Published 04/04/19