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What is it and what can I do about it?

Cuckooing is when a gang of drug dealers force their way into the homes of vulnerable people and use them as bases for drug dealing. They may use violence, deceit or threats to gain entry and control the individual.

The gangs are usually not from the area and use young people to traffic drugs and weapons on their behalf. For more information about this issue, you can look up ‘County Lines’ here.

It’s called cuckooing because the cuckoo bird will lay it’s eggs in another bird’s nest, and eject the host’s clutch.


Who do they target?

Cuckooing victims are usually vulnerable adults, such as the elderly, drug users, those living with mental or physical health issues, sex workers, single mums or those living in poverty.

Gangs will use several addresses and will stay there from a few hours to a few days at a time. Sometimes, vulnerable adults will be forced to leave their homes, making themselves homeless.


Signs of cuckooing

– An increase in people coming and going from the property, especially at night.
– More cars or bikes than usual outside the property.
– An increase in anti-social behaviour.
– A build up of litter, such as takeaway packaging or empty drinks cans.
– Signs of drug use.
– Curtains or blinds closed all of the time.


What can I do?

If you think someone is being cuckooed:

You can contact the local authorities, such as the council or a housing association if the property belongs to them.

Contact Crime Stoppers and give information anonymously.

You can call the police on 101 to report signs of cuckooing.


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