Hard-hitting play about violent County Lines drug gangs will be performed at secondary schools in Harborough and Lutterworth
A hard-hitting play about violent County Lines drug gangs is to be showcased to hundreds of students at two secondary schools in Harborough.
The production – commissioned by Leicestershire Police – is going to be performed at Welland Park Academy in Market Harborough.
And it’s also going to be staged at Lutterworth High School on Thursday April 23.
The gritty, no-holds-barred show is to be put on at 80 secondary schools across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland over the next two months.
Leading theatre company AlterEgo Creative Solutions will deliver the play to pupils in Year 7 upwards, as well as parents, teachers and professionals, on the national drug trafficking threat.
Performed by three actors, it will run for eight weeks and aims to raise awareness about menacing and sinister County Lines gangs.
They will show how notorious drugs criminals can affect young people as well as giving information on grooming and similarities between Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) and Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE).
The production will also educate children on where to go for help and advice if they are worried.
A Leicestershire Police spokeswoman said: “County Lines is a national issue.
“It involves gangs and criminal networks exporting illegal drugs into other areas of the country, often small towns, using mobile phone lines or another form of ‘deal line’ which can often be vulnerable adults or young people.
“The gangs (usually made up of young males from a large urban area), often exploit children or vulnerable adults to move and store the drugs and money.
“They use coercion, intimidation, violence (including sexual violence) and weapons as a way of trapping and manipulating them into trafficking class A drugs, specifically crack cocaine and heroin.”
Katie Hudson, Children and Young Persons Officer for Leicestershire Police, said: “County Lines is a national issue which affects young people and has a detrimental impact on their future.
“We feel it’s vital to raise awareness in young people in order to prevent any risk or harm happening to them.”
She added: “AlterEgo’s approach is different and as a result they have an engaging way to reach young people.
“We’re able to reach at least one year group in every secondary school in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland with this production.”
Keith Hobbs, headteacher at Stephenson Studio School, Coalville, said: “We are thrilled to be working in partnership with Leicestershire Police and AlterEgo Creative Solutions to tackle national issues at a local level and in a creative way.
“It is imperative that all schools raise awareness amongst their students and the community of the risk of County Lines and other potential safeguarding risks.
“The police and AlterEgo have been pivotal in raising the profile of this work, enabling the delivery of this important message in a way that is more relatable and memorable.”
Lynne Goodwin, of AlterEgo, said: "Alterego are delighted to be returning to Leicestershire with our child criminal exploitation play County Lines.
“The play was developed out of a growing need to raise awareness around this issue.
“It’s had a tremendous impact in all the areas around the UK that we have toured to.”