Coronavirus has changed how we all work and live together. Although it may not be the first thing you think of, local police have seen changes in the way that drug dealers and other organised crime gangs are working.
They’ve reported that drug dealing is moving off the streets and into people’s homes as a result of lockdown and the restrictions on movement.
This means that people in our communities face an increased risk from exploitation by these criminal networks – a term often referred to as ‘cuckooing’.
What is cuckooing?
Cuckooing is the term used to describe the actions of people who take over the homes of vulnerable people, often to use and deal drugs. Those who are socially isolated, have a physical disability, learning difficulty, have an addiction, have mental health needs or living in poverty might be vulnerable to cuckooing.
Spotting the signs
The signs that cuckooing may be going on at a property include:
- An increase in different people entering and leaving and often at unusual times of the day and night
- An increase in cars or bikes outside
- An increase in anti-social behaviour
- Damage to the door or the door left propped open
- Unknown people pressing buzzers to gain access to the building
- Increasing litter outside.
If just one of these signs is taking place it may not mean anything. But if three or more of them are taking place, it could indicate that the property is being cuckooed.
What you can do
The police need your help to understand cuckooing and take action against those exploiting people.
Many victims may be unable or afraid to speak out, so we need their friends and neighbours to speak up on their behalf.
If you suspect cuckooing is taking place, you can contact the police on 101 or visit your local police force’s website.
Alternatively, you can contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or via Crimestoppers-uk.org