This is a message sent via Wiltshire and Swindon Community Messaging. This information has been sent on behalf of Wiltshire Police.
‘Cuckooing’ may not be a term you are familiar with, but it could be happening in a house near you and Wiltshire Police wants to know about it.
Criminal gangs are targeting vulnerable people living in housing association and council accommodation by befriending them and then taking over their homes to deal drugs – otherwise known as cuckooing.
The rewards for cuckooing are manifold – gangs from large cities like London, Birmingham and Bristol are able to operate from an unobtrusive home, using the premises to prepare and deal drugs in a safe environment, under the police radar – or so they think.
The occupants of the home, who are often vulnerable drug users themselves, sometimes with mental health issues and less frequently, the elderly, are told their families will be harmed if they call the police.
Detective Inspector Paul Franklin is from the Dedicated Crime Team (DCT) at Wiltshire Police. The role of the DCT is to combat the threat posed by these gangs.
He said: “The members of these gangs are very persuasive – they’ll cross county lines in a bid to take over the homes of vulnerable people. They’ll treat the home as their own, they’ll make threats to the occupants with violence and serious assaults being common place. They’ll also carry weapons including knives in a bid to intimidate the occupants and protect their criminal enterprises.
“These people think they will fall under the police radar in counties like Wiltshire, but we are working extremely hard to disrupt these gangs and protect the county’s most vulnerable people from being cuckooed.”
If you suspect drug activity in your area, call police on 101, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where information can be left anonymously if preferred. Alternatively, call the Dedicated Crime Team’s direct on 01793 267011 (North Wiltshire) or 01380 861144 (South Wiltshire).