Drug dealers are posing as joggers and NHS staff in order to continue dealing during lockdown.
The Guardian reports that gangs are adapting to the pandemic by dealing via social media, drive-by sales and letterbox drops and also using the aforementioned disguises to avoid detection by police and to adhere to social distancing rules to protect themselves.
Professor Simon Harding, the director of the National Centre for Gang Research at the University of West London, said: “On one hand, they really are heeding government advice on social distancing, but at the same time it is business as usual and as people were panic-buying food, dealers were running bulk deals and selling lockdown party packs.
“Vehicles are being used more often to carry out deals arranged by phone, with products thrown from windows and money chucked on the back seat to keep items clean.”
The lockdown has made it harder for gangs to move drugs around the country under the 'county lines' model but their shift online presents new problems, Harding explains:
"Street gangs are being forced to find new tactics, such as shifting grooming and recruitment online to social media. This means young people can become ensnared in dangerous gang activity from their phones while their families have no idea and that is a worry.”
It's also being reported that dealers are disguising themselves as key workers as well as operating from supermarket car parks.
One dealer recently got busted for trying to smuggle cocaine hidden in PPE equipment into the UK.