Nearly £150,000 has been seized and 17 people arrested as part of an intensive operation to snare 'County Lines' drug dealers in East Lancashire.

Police conducted 11 warrants at properties across the area - one home even had a door mat bearing the message 'Come Back With A Warrant'.

Detectives say 36 vulnerable people were also visited and safeguarded, and cocaine, cannabis, ketamine and LSD were seized.

Police say £148,612 was impounded and 12 weapons including a machete, an axe and an imitation firearm, were also found, alongside 18 suspect phones.

Staff also took part in several protection and prevention activities. These included educational school and youth group visits to young people and sessions with parents who were encouraged to make themselves aware of the signs of exploitation.

County Lines is defined as the transportation of illegal drugs from one area to another, usually by children or vulnerable adults who are coerced into it by criminal gangs

DI Kate Kennedy, of Lancashire Constabulary, said: “Last week’s activity is just a snapshot of the work carried out every day to disrupt those involved in organised crime and tackle County Lines.

“Along with our partners in health, education and children’s social services, we will continue this work so that those who are vulnerable to exploitation can be safeguarded appropriately.

“We will relentlessly pursue offenders and put them before the courts of make our streets safer.”

Andrew Snowden, police and crime commissioner, added: "Tackling county lines and cross border criminals is a key part of my Fighting Crime Plan, with Operation Warrior dismantling organised crime gangs that often operate across county borders.

"Since launching Operation Warrior, the number of raids, arrests and drug seizures speak for themselves.

"We have been stepping up the pressure on those who destroy lives and damage communities, and we won't stop making Lancashire a hostile place for offenders, wherever they are from.

"Organised crime gangs bring fear, violence, drugs and exploitation into Lancashire, and with county lines it's even more important to utilise the relationships we have with partners such as the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit, National Crime Agency and other police forces, to keep people safe and ensure offenders have their day in court.

"I want to thank Lancashire residents for their continued support, and I hope that seeing these results encourages them to continue to report suspicious activity, either directly to the police or anonymously to Crimestoppers."

Officers and police cadets also distributed leaflets encouraging members of the public to be aware of the signs of exploitation.

Some of these signs may include children frequently going missing and then returning home, having more clothes, mobile phones, or cash than usual, receiving excessive text messages or phone calls and disengagement from school.