An award-winning author from North Yorkshire has launched a competition for young people highlighting the dangers of county lines drug gangs.

Christina Gabbitas, author of "Trapped in County Lines", has spent years working with police forces, schools and other agencies in educating young people, teachers, parents and carers to spot the signs of grooming and exploitation that young people can experience from county lines drug gangs.

Christina said: "Since I began my work on the issue of county lines I have spoken to many people who have had first-hand experience of how criminals exploit our young people.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Christina Gabbitas has launched a competition based off her story, Trapped in County Lines

"I have spoken to parents who are in desperation after seeing their child trapped by these gangs. It’s vital that we get the message across early and raise awareness with young people of how they can become trapped, and what may seem like a friendship at first, quickly escalates into something more sinister which can take their life down a destructive path."

The competition asks young people to write a poem or song to highlight the dangers of County Lines exploitation. There are two age groups: 12 -16 and 17 -21, The closing date is June 30, 2024 and entries should be sent to:

The prizes are: £200 vouchers for a store of the winners choice. Second place £100, third place £50. The top 50 poems or songs will be published in a special book. Entries will be considered by a panel of 40 judges from all corners of the UK, from poets, police personnel, young people, and people with lived experience of county line.