CRIMESTOPPERS has launched a campaign to stop the exploitation of vulnerable people in Cheshire by criminal gangs from nearby cities.

The charity has launched the campaign to highlight the pain and suffering that criminals from urban areas are inflicting on children and vulnerable people in Cheshire.

Criminals from major cities such as Liverpool, Manchester, London and Birmingham are expanding their drug networks to rural areas bringing with it serious criminal behaviour such as violence, exploitation and abuse.

They often set up a base in a rural area for a short time, taking over the homes of vulnerable people, and use adults and children to act as drug runners.

Many of those targeted have been forced to carry out criminal activity by threats, grooming and extortion and can be described as modern-day slaves.

Gary Murray, Crimestoppers Regional Manager for the North West, said: “We need the public’s help to put a stop to this exploitation and the damage that these criminals are inflicting on our community and young lives.

“The criminals rely on people turning a blind eye and not speaking out, but they can really make a difference and send a very clear message to the criminals that they are not wanted here by contacting us anonymously and safely. Together we can put a stop to this.

“We won’t judge or ask any personal details. All we want to know is what you know, and you’ll remain 100 per cent anonymous. Always.”