Organisations in the South West have united to combat youth exploitation and crime, with a particular focus on county lines drug trafficking.

A joint initiative, led by the national charity Crimestoppers, and Unique Voice, a social enterprise, was unveiled at an educational event at Redruth’s Regal Theatre.

This initiative, primarily funded by train operator CrossCountry, has developed a range of materials designed to help young people understand the issue of exploitation.

County lines refers to the organised illegal drug trade where criminals exploit vulnerable individuals, often from rural and suburban areas, to transport drugs and cash across the country, mainly using the rail network.

Falmouth Packet: Truro station engagementTruro station engagement (Image: Cross Country)

The initiative aims to raise awareness about the dangers of exploitation, hoping to see an increase in reported crimes.

Sarah Gould, regional director for CrossCountry’s West and Wales region, said: "We’re pleased to support this important initiative as part of this year’s Customer and Community Improvement Fund.

“We know that exploitation and trafficking are a key concern for communities in the South West – as a rail operator, it’s important for us to support the prevention of these dangerous activities as strongly as we can.”

An investment of £21,880 has been made into the initiative, with £17,880 contributed by CrossCountry from their Customer and Community Improvement Fund.

Karen MacDonald, Crimestoppers' West Country regional manager, said: "We're pleased to be able to bring this important resource to educators in our tenth year of working in partnership with Unique Voice.

Falmouth Packet: CrossCountry, Crimestoppers and Unique Voice launch the new resources in RedruthCrossCountry, Crimestoppers and Unique Voice launch the new resources in Redruth (Image: Cross Country)

"The valuable support provided by CrossCountry will ensure that even more children and young people across Devon and Cornwall speak up, stay safe and help to stop crime - particularly when it comes to risks around exploitation and County Lines trafficking.”

Krystal Keeley, co-founder and director at Unique Voice added: "This brand new resource aims to equip children and young people with an understanding of exploitation, the forms it can take and the awareness of who to turn to when they need support.

"It’s been fantastic to work with CrossCountry and Crimestoppers to empower young people to spot the signs of exploitation, for themselves and for others."

To report crime anonymously through Crimestoppers, call 0800 555 111 or visit the Crimestoppers website.

For information about CrossCountry’s Customer and Communities Improvement Fund, visit their website.