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Cuckooing - What it is and what to do

Date posted:
1st January 2021
Image of youth in hoodie

Cuckooing - What it is, and what to do

Cuckooing is when a drug dealer takes over the home of a vulnerable person who often lives on their own in order to use it as a base for drug dealing. Just like a cuckoo, the dealer moves in, takes over the property and turns it into a drugs den.

Dealers will choose someone they can scare, bully and control. They will seem friendly at first.

Victims of ‘cuckooing’ are often drug users but can include older people, those suffering from mental or physical health problems, female sex workers, single mums and those living in poverty. Victims may suffer from other forms of addiction, such as alcoholism, and are often already known to the police. Dealers often approach the victim offering free drugs to use their home for dealing.

Cuckooing is often linked to county lines drug dealing where urban gangs travel to suburban areas to establish a base for drug dealing. As a result of these actions, those being “cuckooed” can suffer from abuse and exploitation.

Signs of ‘Cuckooing’ to look out for:

  • More people than normal going into someone’s house
  • People calling in at all times of day and night
  • Different cars pulling up outside the house and not staying long
  • Strangers who block off the doors and windows to the house
  • If you haven’t seen your neighbour for a while

Halton Housing wants you to feel safe in your home and we have a dedicated Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) team to help us achieve this goal. Anyone who suspects ‘cuckooing’ is taking place, or you think you are a victim of cuckooing is urged to contact the ASB team or Cheshire Police.

Alternatively, you can report information anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


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