Exploring county lines: criminal drug distribution practices in Scotland

Christopher Holligan, Robert McLean*, Richard McHugh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
186 Downloads (Pure)


The concept of ‘County Lines’ denotes an exploitative type of illegal drug distribution and dealing criminal enterprise that is indicative of the development of new strategies to underpin criminal markets in Britain. It is a growing phenomenon characterizing the evolution and working of drug distribution networks in contemporary Britain which often establish ‘nests’ in the homes of vulnerable persons domiciled within drug traffic hubs. This article draws upon qualitative data generated from interviews with active and former offenders and members of intervention agencies in order to understand more about the denizens of this embryonic criminal world.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-63
Number of pages14
JournalYouth Justice
Issue number1-2
Early online date26 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


  • County lines
  • Cuckooing
  • Drug supply
  • gangs
  • Glasgow
  • Organized crime
  • Scotland
  • Youths


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