A HEREFORD secondary school is warning parents to make sure their children are not being exploited by drug dealers which leaders think are in the area.

The Hereford Academy said it was aware county lines drug dealers, those which run illegal substances to other parts of the country, may be in the HR2 area.

To run the drugs, the dealers often exploit children and vulnerable adults, and the Marlbrook Road school said it often happened without victims realising.

In a letter to parents, assistant headteacher David Edwards said: "Gang members may use coercion, intimidation, violence (including sexual violence) and weapons to do this. We are clear that this is child exploitation."


He added: "As a school we are working together with West Mercia Police and partners, including Herefordshire Children's Services, to prevent and spot signs of exploitation at the earliest opportunity.

"We are keen that parents, carers and pupils are also aware of county lines, know where to ask for more support if they are worried and know that you will be listened to and supported."


The school warned about potential signs that children could be involved, such as returning home late, being secretive, using or possessing drugs and unexplained school absences or injuries.

Mr Edwards encouraged parents to speak to their children about risks, and to contact the police, academy or young people's services.