POLICE are urging holidaymakers visiting the south Dorset coast to watch out for signs of county lines and exploitation.

Some of the signs of county line include children travelling long distances on public transport alone, paying for tickets with large amounts of cash or children with multiple mobile phones, tablets or SIM cards.

The warning comes more than £40,000 worth of drugs, cash and stolen bikes were seized during a police operation in Dorset which saw 14 people arrested.

READ MOREDorset Police arrest 14 people in county lines drugs operation

Superintendent Andy Dilworth said: “County lines is a crime where a gang uses a dedicated mobile phone line to sell drugs.

"They often exploit children or vulnerable adults and force them to courier drugs and money.

The 'county line' refers to the mobile phone line which is the link for the drugs gangs to sell drugs.

“Dorset is always busy at this time of year with summer visitors enjoying our beautiful coastline and countryside.

"We know children and vulnerable adults exploited by gangs can get 'lost in the crowd' during peak holiday season, which is why we are asking visitors and the public to know the signs and help us keep people safe.

"We also know vulnerable children can be more at risk of exploitation by gangs during the long summer holiday as they are away from structured education.

"We are particularly asking for people who work in the holiday accommodation and hospitality industries, as well as taxi firms and bus and coach companies, to keep their eyes and ears open and, if they see something which doesn’t look right, to report it to us."

Police and crime commissioner for Dorset, David Sidwick said: “County lines gangs cause terrible problems in our county, not just by making drugs more readily available but by ruthlessly exploiting vulnerable and often young people.

"This is a problem I’m determined to tackle and will be a key focus of my police and crime plan.

“It's an issue where the police need your help, so as visitors continue to come into the county please be aware of the signs of county lines exploitation, and let Dorset Police know if you see anything that concerns you."

Dorset Police are urging members of the public to visit their website to find out about county lines and the signs to look out for.

Police can also be contacted anonymously on Crimestoppers on: 0800 555 111.