A STRING of arrests made to foil a suspected crime gang is keeping the ‘foot on the throat’ of organised drug dealing, Cumbria’s head of crime said.

Detective Chief Superintendent Dean Holden said it was important to stop organised crime groups attempting to flood Barrow and beyond with drugs after Cumbria Police carried out raids in the town and Liverpool.

Nine people were arrested after police seized ‘substantial amounts’ of controlled drugs in both areas.

Seven people were remanded in custody when they appeared at South Cumbria Magistrates’ Court yesterday to face charges of conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine.

Six of the suspects arrested were from Liverpool and three from Barrow.

The head of crime and safeguarding for Cumbria Police said: “If you look at the supply of class A it has links to a lot of serious violent crime.

“To keep our foot on the throat of that is very important.

“We’ll never eradicate county lines drug dealing but we have to keep the tempo up on it.”

The defendants, who are charged with conspiracy to supply drugs in Barrow between October 31 and June 24, are:

- Leslie Stephen Bowers, 41, of no fixed abode

- Lauren Callister, 24, of Red Terrace in Wigton

- Kerry Jane Mallett, 47, of Longway in Barrow

- Paul Alan McGovern, 39, of September Road in Liverpool

- Stuart Storey, 34, of Wyre Green, Walney

- Mark Walker, 48, of Sidney Street in Barrow and

- Christopher John Williams, 31, of Douglas Close, Liverpool.

They are all due to appear at Preston Crown Court on July 24.

Cumbria Police said an eighth person remains in police custody.

Officers also arrested a 46-year-old woman from Liverpool who has since been released under investigation.

Det. Chief Supt. Holden said there had been more than 200 convictions for drug offences in the last two years in Cumbria, many in relation to county lines dealing from big cities.

“That’s probably better than most areas in the rest of the country," he said.

“We are certainly making inroads. We get very good intelligence from the community around drug supply.”