The drug epidemic in Britain shows no signs of slowing. The dealers and drug runners are younger than ever before, their reach extends to the most remote regions of the countryside, and their potential for violence has escalated exponentially. Produced by BBC Three, Britain's Teenage Drug Runners burrows deep into their nefarious operations, introduces us to its major players, and profiles the law enforcement agencies that are working feverishly to thwart them.
From a London kitchen, a "cook" prepares his next batch of highly profitable crack cocaine. This drug fetches the highest demand in the country alongside heroin. Once the batch is ready, runners as young as twelve years of age are recruited to transport it to needy users who are willing to shell out as much as a grand for a small cube. The younger the runner, the less likely they are to have a criminal paper trail and attract the attention of authorities.
The illegal drug game has changed in recent times. Fierce competition has forced the London drug gangs to venture far outside the major metropolitan areas in search of new customers. To accommodate this expanding consumer base, they've established bases in every corner of the countryside. These bases are usually the homes of intimidated or willing accomplices.
The dealer featured in the film expresses no remorse for recruiting young runners nor for his own choice of criminal occupation. There are no viable employment opportunities for people with criminal records, he reasons, and equally limited prospects for the young people he employs.
The presence of these drug gangs has caused a major spike in violent crime in each of these countryside communities. It's an elaborate operation, and one that law enforcement officials are desperate to contain. The film follows several of these units as they outline the routes these runners take across multiple counties, and struggle to dissuade these gangs from operating on their turf. The dealers are savvy, however, and often alter their process to avert detection.
Featuring unfettered access and a series of provocative interviews, Britain's Teenage Drug Runners places us in a dangerous underground world that can only thrive in the shadows.
Directed by: Carl Callam