Drugs with a street value of more than £100,000 have been seized and at least 25 people arrested in a police crackdown on county lines drug crime.

Gangs and organised networks involved in exporting drugs into other areas are being warned they will be stopped as police in West Cumbria launch a major operation to tackle the offending.

In a statement this week, police said they were acting on intelligence about a growing problem, especially in the Workington area.

The scale of the operation has been huge with 200 homes being visited and more than 100 stop-searches of vehicles and people.

As well as £100,000-worth of drugs, mainly heroine and crack cocaine, Police have also recovered weapons and several people have been evicted from their homes or face injunctions.

Operation Earnest was launched at the start of September.

Detective Inspector Matt Scott is leading the operation.

He said: “County lines is exploitative drug supply and is devastating to local communities, well beyond those who are directly involved in the local drugs scene.

“We will do all we can to stop county lines drugs criminals targeting our community as they aim to line their pockets at other people’s misery.”

He added: “We constantly monitor for emerging problems or trends in crime.

“After receiving intelligence that this was becoming an emerging problem in Workington, we acted swiftly to gather information and act to stamp it out.

“The operation has involved detectives, uniformed neighbourhood officers, PCSOs and partner agencies working together to do what we can to prevent drugs crime.

“We want to send a firm message to those thinking of targeting west Cumbria: If you think west Cumbria is a soft target, think again.”

DI Scott also asked people in West Cumbria to come forward with information to help keep their communities free from drugs crime.

He added: “We also specifically appeal to drug users and their families: Do not succumb to the temptation or pressure to work with or for outside crime groups in this manner.

“Instead, seek assistance from the authorities or ask a friend or family member to do so on your behalf.

“Cumbria Police and our partners will be relentless in targeting and disrupting all those involved in exploitative drug supply and we appeal to the whole community to help us.

“This operation is far from over, this is just the beginning.’’

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: “The police response in dealing with county lines drug dealers has been impressive over the last eighteen months. The criminals who deal in misery and dangerous substances need to understand that they will be pursued by the police and they will be prosecuted.

“Drug dealers have absolutely no concern for the victims they create by leading people into addiction and the resulting crime which affects all elements in our communities.

“Worst of all is their aim to draw young people into the drug culture. We must and will continue to do all we can to stop them, they destroy lives with devastating impact across our communities.

“I want drug dealers to know that the police will do all in their power to bring them to justice, but we all need to help, this is a community issue.

“I would say to anyone tempted to use illegal drugs please do not get involved with these criminals.”

f you have any information contact Police on 101 or 999, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.