Year 7 Student Has Role In Film Spreading Awareness of County Lines Exploitation

Cleethorpes Academy Year 7 student Alfie Harney (11) who appears in Episode 3 of 'Alfie's Story,' which draws attention to County Lines exploitation of vulnerable young people.

Alfie Harney (11), a Year 7 student at Cleethorpes Academy, has been given the opportunity to star in Episode 3 of 'Alfie's Story'.

He was volunteered by his mum who had seen an advert on social media. 'Alfie's Story' is a series of short films that highlight issues associated with County Lines in North East Lincolnshire and can be viewed on YouTube at

Alfie Harney said of his role: "It was filmed on a weekend. My mum put me forward. I had to act as if I was a kidnapper and play a bad guy. I have never really done any acting before but enjoyed it. I would do it again. The film has a really serious message."

County Lines refers to drug dealing across different counties run by established gangs who groom vulnerable young people to transport and deal drugs in these new markets. Young people are drawn in with promises of money, protection and status. Once involved, the reality is completely different. The promises do not materialise and the young people are coerced into carrying out risky activities, and are often threatened with physical and sexual violence if they try to break away.

North East Lincolnshire Council is helping to tackle this situation through a project that works with children who are the victims of Exploitation, Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery, funded by the Home Offic's Trusted Relationship Grant. The specialist project tackles the regional drivers of Child Criminal Exploitation, namely low aspiration, substance misuse and involvement in the illegal drugs market.

Recently students at Cleethorpes Academy listened to a talk from representatives of the GRAFT (Gaining Respect and Finding Trust) project, which helps to educate young people, and those who work with young people, about how County Lines operations run. They also work with and help young people to escape these situations.

Janice Hornby, Principal of Cleethorpes Academy, said, "The students have been discussing the subject of child criminal exploitation in Careers and Personal Development lessons. We are proud of Alfie for putting himself forward for this role, which will hopefully show his peers how County Lines works, and the help and advice available to vulnerable children to support them if required."

A scene from the Episode of 'Alfie's Story' in which Alfie Harney takes part.

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Cleethorpes Academy Principal

Janice Hornby