Late on a Friday evening, St Giles received a call about 13-year old Tommy who had been arrested for a drug offence nearly 200 miles away from his home in the West Midlands. 

The St Giles caseworker headed off to collect Tommy and bring him safely back to his care placement. It was 1am before he finally arrived. On meeting Tommy, it was clear that he had been exploited into county lines activity.  He had not eaten for two days, looked disheveled and disorientated.

The first step was to get Tommy out of harm’s way and ensure he was fed.  The caseworker used the return journey home to encourage Tommy to open up and persuade him to steer his life back on track. When they stopped at the service station for food, he explored with Tommy what had led him to end up in police custody many miles from home and what his future could look like if he did not start making different decisions.  The caseworker went through the consequences of county line involvement and weapon carrying, alongside the risks and effects of grooming and exploitation.

By the time they reached home at 6am the following morning, Tommy had also told his caseworker his concerns around another friend who was possibly at risk and could potentially be going down the same route as him. Both boys are now being supported by St Giles and moving forward with their lives in a more positive way.

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