PUPILS at an Oswestry school were the audience for an eye-opening performance on County Lines drug trafficking.

Each year group at The Marches School in Morda Road learned about the crime and its negative impact, through a show performed by professional actors who highlight social issues.

The performance – based on a true story – focuses on young couple, Jess and Randal, who have been dragged into drugs trafficking by older man, Dex, who introduces them to crime and subjects them to violence.

The actors from Alter Ego Creative Solutions (AECS), based in Northampton, have been touring the country performing at a number of secondary schools with the aim of opening the eyes of pupils who may have been, or may be, introduced to county lines crime.

Associate assistant headteacher, Jo Phillips, said that bringing the theatre production to the school was vital after an alarming increase of county lines crimes in the area.

"We've been aware of county lines in this area for quite a while now," she said.

"We were alerted by West Mercia Police so we wanted to do something to support and prepare students.

"We'd seen the company perform a few years ago and they were fantastic.

"We had to raise money to put this on, so we'd like to give thanks to the Walker Trust and Star Housing for providing funding. We're massively grateful to them."

Ms Phillips believes the pupils took plenty from the showing.

"Children seemed very involved with the performance," she added. "It's much more realistic this way.

"County lines is frightening and it's been very impactful."

George Rhys Thomas, from AECS, said that performing for the youngsters was rewarding.

"It's a massive issue at the moment," he said. "But if we help just one person on the whole tour then it's been worth it.

"It's rewarding seeing the difference it can make.

"Through acting it makes it more realistic and impactful."

And Libby Goodwin, also an actor for AECS, added: "County lines is the biggest crime for young people at the moment.

"Anything that helps children is so important."

"It's important that every year group sees the same thing," added George. "We've known people as young as primary school age be involved in county lines."