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Cuckooing happens when people target the homes of vulnerable adults and take over their property. The home may be used for any criminal purpose, including drug dealing, sexual crimes and storing weapons. The vulnerable adult can be exploited and coerced to participate in criminal acts. Young people vulnerable to criminal exploitation can also be associated with these properties. Cuckooed residents may be victims of crime and neighbours may be affected by anti-social behaviour and localised criminal activity. 

In partnership with the police we can:

  • provide support to the cuckooed resident to get the help they need
  • take steps to prevent people entering addresses which are being used for cuckooing using formal enforcement action.

What you can do

Look out for your neighbours who may be vulnerable. Those whose homes are most vulnerable include older people, those with mental health problems, drug users or those living on low income.

Signs a home may be cuckooed

  • A person living alone who suddenly starts having lots of visitors arriving at all times, who don’t stay long
  • People waiting in cars outside and exchanging cash or small packets
  • People bringing in items like TVs or bikes but leaving empty handed
  • Increase in litter
  • Increase in local anti-social behaviour

What to do if you have concerns

The best advice is to trust your instincts. Even if someone isn’t being cuckooed, they may be being exploited in some other way, so it’s always worth reporting.

Tell us when and where the issue is. If you can tell us more, for example, descriptions of people, do you see them at the same time each day, what direction are they coming and going from. Never put yourself at risk and do not confront or approach anyone.


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