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“County lines is nothing new – it was called going cunch”, says mum

"It is more affluent middle-class people who keep the business ticking over"

15 March, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

We have kept the mother, a survivor of county lines, anonymous 

SO-CALLED “county lines” have been running for decades but was known on the street as “going cunch”, according to an Islington mother who was groomed into the drug peddling system at the age of 12.

“Cunch” is an abbreviation of the word country.

The woman, who wants to remain anonymous, shakes her head in despair when she hears experts talking about county lines as if it were a new phenomenon.

As a teenager she spent days dealing drugs from freezing, flea-infested “trap-houses” in shire towns where torture, beatings and rape were a part of life. She now works with people who are trying to recover from gang life.

She said: “I have been at these conventions lately where police officers and specialists are talking about the ‘county lines’ issue as if it’s new and I’m tearing my hair out.

“This has been going on forever. We all thought it was normal. Why is it just being talked about now?”

County lines is where inner-city children are groomed by older gang members and sent out to the country to deal drugs.

The mother, who attended an Islington school, remembers “going cunch” with her friends when she was 16. They thought it was exciting at first. They were trusted with drugs and money. But then the reality kicked in when they arrived at a trap-house.

She said: “There is always some dirty, stinky, pissy mattress.

“Altogether I have gone to about eight different places in my time. Some of them just once and some of them numerous times. But there is guaranteed to be some grungy, dirty, flea-infested mattress. They could have kidnapped someone and killed them on that mattress, someone could have been raped on that mattress, someone could have had their first piss of the day on that mattress.

“Then the worst thing is when you have been there for days and it is so cold, and you have to sleep and that is the only place to lie down on.”
She spoke of the torture scenes she had witnessed: “I have seen things I want to forget. Cunch is nasty. Have you ever smelt burning skin?

“It’s like the smell of burning hair, but meatier. It makes me feel sick just thinking about it. That, mixed with the smell of cooking heroin, is disgusting.”

She added that while inner-city kids experience the violent realities of drugs firsthand, it is more affluent middle-class people who keep the business ticking over.

“The first time I ever realised that rich white people were the biggest customers in the drugs business was when I was 14,” she said.

“I was taken to this house, there were bank managers and people like that. There was a lot of money in the room. We walked into a little room and this 70-year-old man was billing up a spliff. I was like, what!? Then I look around and there is just people taking coke everywhere.

“They used anything to take a line. People had turned flowerpots upside- down and were taking lines off that.”

This echoes the Met chief Cressida Dick’s comments last year where she criticised “middle- class” people who “happily think about global warming and fair trade” but believe there is no harm in a “bit of cocaine”.

“Well there is,” she added. “There’s misery throughout the supply chain.”

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