‘Cuckooing’ is the term used to describe the practice where professional drug dealers take over the property of a vulnerable person and use it as a place from which to run their drugs business.
The drug dealers will target those who are vulnerable, potentially as a result of substance abuse, mental health issues, or loneliness, and befriend them or promise them drugs in exchange for being able to use their property.
By using an unassuming property, criminals can operate their drugs supply out of sight in an attempt to stay below the police radar. They are often only in the premises for a short amount of time before moving on to their next victim.
As the victims of cuckooing are vulnerable, they are often fearful of going to the police and worry that they will be incriminated in the criminality.
We are urging the public to watch out for vulnerable neighbours, to ensure they don’t fall victim to this trend.
There are also signs of cuckooing that you can look out for:
- It usually takes place in a multi-occupancy or social housing property
- There may be an increase in the number of comings and goings, including people you haven’t seen before
- There might be new vehicles outside the property
- A possible increase in anti-social behaviour in and around the property
If you suspect that drug dealers are operating from a property near you, it’s really important that you report it so that we can protect those who are vulnerable and ensure those responsible are brought to justice.
Call police on 101 (or 999 in an emergency) with as much information as possible. If you don’t want to contact police, you can report drug dealers to Crimestoppers, completely anonymously, by calling 0800 555 111 or via their website.