EIGHT people were arrested in Herefordshire as police cracked down on county lines drugs gangs.

Cannabis, cocaine, two mobile phones and a replica gun were also seized during the National Crime Agency's co-ordinated week of activity targeting the gangs.

County lines involves a group from a large urban area travelling to smaller locations to sell drugs.

They may challenge an existing group from the local area or another County Lines group in order to take over the local market which often causes an increase in violent incidents.

READ MORE: Replica gun, knife and drugs seized by police

Groups often use local properties as a base for their activities, which are often acquired by force or coercion referred to as 'cuckooing'.

A national and regional week of intensification took place between October 7 and 13 and included the execution of a number of warrants at addresses, various vehicle stops and numerous visits to educational and community venues.

Vulnerable people and those at risk were also safeguarded.

READ MORE: Four arrested in county lines drug dealing operation

Across the West Mercia policing area, weapons, phones and more than £13,500 cash was recovered during the week of intelligence led intensified activity.

Thousands of pounds worth of drugs were seized during the week, including crack, cocaine, heroin and cannabis.

Weapons ranging from knives and machetes to replica shotguns were seized and numerous tablets and mobile phones confiscated. Securing these communications is vital in disrupting the county lines movement and provides officers with key intelligence.

Detective Sergeant Nick Shutt said: “The operations that we carried out in and Hereford were the result on-going planning and intelligence gathering and show our commitment to tackling organised criminal crime.

"During the intensification week, we arrested eight people and seized drugs, weapons and phones which will impact on these gangs’ ability to harm the public and exploit vulnerable people.

“We are determined to make Herefordshire a safe place to live and work.

"People intent on committing criminal activity, like trafficking drugs into our communities are not welcome and we will do everything in our power to disrupt their activity and bring them to justice.

“The public also have a vital role to play in tackling organised crime and we would encourage them to report any concerns to us. If anyone is aware of any county lines activity they can call us in confidence on 101 and information provided to us will be acted upon.”

Anyone with suspicions about county lines gangs should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 where information can be given anonymously.