The fight to help young people avoid a life of crime has been started with the hope to stop them from being groomed.

Crimestoppers has launched a campaign across Cumbria this week to highlight the dangers of young people being groomed and becoming involved in County Lines. The charity is offering ways to help people identify those who are at risk of being groomed into a life of drug dealing, along with the associated physical and sexual violence.

The charity is particularly worried as figures nationally show that gangs are increasingly targeting girls to traffic drugs or money as they are seen as less likely to be suspected of being involved. There is also a rise in ‘cuckooing’, where a vulnerable person’s home is taken over by criminals and used as a base to operate their drug dealing from.

Young people are often recruited by criminal gangs to pay off a drug debt, or in return for cash, alcohol, new trainers, bikes or most recently e-scooters.

The four-week campaign highlights how organised criminal gangs target young people to find out their vulnerabilities. A lifestyle is then sold before loyalty is tested, often through asking for favours and offering a sense of protection, which can then lead to those exploited being trapped through debt bondage, trafficking, isolation from family and friends and physical, psychological and sexual abuse.

Any suspicions about organised drug gangs and victims can be reported to Crimestoppers 100 per cent anonymously by calling freephone 0800 555 111 at any time or by completing a secure online form at or for young people, where more can also be learnt about the warning signs of County Lines activity. offers young people non-judgemental advice so they can make informed decisions about lifestyle choices and realise that they have an alternative option when reporting crime.

Gary Murray, North West Regional Manager at the charity Crimestoppers, said: “We are asking people to remain vigilant to the signs of grooming and the three grooming stages of targeting, testing and trapping. We are also appealing to everyone to help protect vulnerable members in our community from County Lines activity by telling us anonymously what you know.

“Crime information can be passed to Crimestoppers at any time by calling our freephone number 0800 555 111 or by completing a safe and secure anonymous online from at Young people can also give information via 100 per cent anonymously without fear of any repercussions. Our charity has always kept its promise of anonymity to everyone who contacts us.”