Cuckooing is when criminals exploit a vulnerable person and use their home for illegal activity, often drug dealing. They may intimidate, threaten, abuse or inflict violence on the homeowner.

These homes are sometimes called ‘trap houses’ or ‘safe houses.’ They’re usually used for a short time before criminals move elsewhere. 

Signs to look out for if you suspect cuckooing could be:

  • an increase in the number of people coming and going from the home
  • new vehicles outside the home, or frequent taxis or hire cars
  • an increase in antisocial behaviour in and around the home
  • new unidentified persons in the home
  • the homeowner disengaging with support services or the community
  • the home containing sparse furnishings or possessions
  • the home falling into disrepair
  • communal doors being propped open

This is a criminal offence. You must report it to the Police immediately:

  • call 101 if it’s a non-emergency
  • call 999 if it’s an emergency
  • tell the Police if you’re concerned about your safety.

We don’t have the power to respond to criminal activity.

Can’t speak to the Police?

If it’s not safe for you to speak to the Police directly you can:

  • call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. No personal details are taken, the call is not traced or recorded, and you won’t go to court if action is taken.
  • contact your local council’s Social Services Safeguarding Team. You can find your local council here.

Concerned about someone’s welfare?

If you’re concerned about the safety or welfare of an adult, young person or child, go to our support page for more info.