A man and a woman have been arrested and charged with modern slavery after police raided a London flat suspected of being used to exploit a 13-year-old.
British Transport Police raided a flat in Surrey Quays, south-east London, at 5.30am on Friday, September 25.
Devon Mccallum, 26, and Nardia Seedat, 25, of Southwark, London, were both charged with counts of supplying class A drugs & modern slavery.
It was linked to the arrest of a schoolboy, 13, in Rochester Station, Kent, who was found last week with £1,500, multiple mobile phones and markings of exploitation by County Lines gangs.
Footage shows a number of officers in riot gear force their way into the flat before the arrests were made. Multiple phones were taken as evidence.
The schoolboy has since been taken into police protection and is the youngest person to be arrested for County Lines.
British Transport Police (pictured) raided a flat in Surrey Quays, south-east London, at 5.30am on Friday, September 25
Officers found drugs, multiple mobile phones and even a taser disguised as an iPhone inside the flat.
The force tweeted: ‘Children are exploited by #CountyLines gangs. They put them at risk, forcing them to travel by train with class A drugs.
‘@BBCLondonNews joined us when we raided a London flat suspected of being used to exploit a 13-year-old. Two were arrested & charged with Modern Slavery.’
Both people arrested at the flat were charged on the day of their arrest with counts of modern slavery and supplying class A drugs.
Measures were taken to protect a third person who owned the flat because officers suspected he was also a victim of exploitation.
Detective Superintendent Gareth Williams, of the British Transport Police County Lines Taskforce, said: ‘Sadly, it’s not uncommon for County Lines gangs to use children, especially when they’re using them to transport drugs on the railway. In our work, we routinely come across children who are 15, 16 and 17 years old.
A man and a woman were arrested and charged with modern slavery after police raided the London flat, suspected of being used to exploit a 13-year-old
The force tweeted: ‘Children are exploited by #CountyLines gangs. They put them at risk, forcing them to travel by train with class A drugs’
‘These gangs often use extreme intimidation and exploitative tactics, such as money and new clothes, to encourage these children to travel far distances to areas they don’t know with class A drugs, where they’ll be alone and at a high risk of harm.
‘When we arrest a child involved in County Lines our first intention is never to criminalise, but to give them protection and try to pull them away from the clutches of criminals, we’ll then target the gangs exploiting them – we’re carrying out operations on the railway daily to make sure this happens, and continually work with local police forces to ensure there is a nationwide response to County Lines.’
In the days before the raid, two people who were linked to County Lines in Kent and were suspected to have a connection to the London flat were convicted with the help of Kent Police.
Officers found drugs, multiple mobile phones and even a taser disguised as an iPhone (pictured) inside the flat
Detective Superintendent Mike Worrall of Kent Police’s County Line and Gang Team said: ‘The dismantling of class A drug supply networks is a shared responsibility, which is why it is so important that police forces work closely together to target those intent on committing serious criminal offences.
‘Drug dealers do not recognise county boundaries or care which force is responsible for policing a particular area.
‘All they care about is making money from the supply of crack cocaine and heroin to some of the most vulnerable people in society, and taking whatever extreme measures they deem necessary to protect their harmful brand.
It was linked to the arrest of a schoolboy, 13, in Rochester Station, Kent, who was found last week with £1,500, multiple mobile phones and markings of exploitation by County Lines gangs. Pictured, a bag of what looks like drugs was found inside the flat
‘We do not stand for it and have teams of experienced officers who are dedicated to removing drug networks from the streets of Kent, and we will continue to work with British Transport Police and other partners to ensure those responsible are brought to justice.’
The force has targetted the issues of County Lines drug couriering and child exploitation on the railway since receiving Home Office funding in December 2019.
Sine then some 725 people have been arrested, 369 packages of drugs ranging in class and quantity, £245,000 in cash and 122 weapons have been taken off the railway.
The largest seizure of drugs to date was £53,000 worth of cocaine taken at Cambridge station in June. The man carrying the drugs admitted he was doing it to pay off an £8,000 debt to a gang.
The largest seizure of cash was £100,000 on a train in Liverpool Lime Street station in summer. A man was carrying the money, which was tightly packed into a plastic bag, in a backpack.