We are working with our local police forces to help identify and prevent drug dealing in our communities.
Gangs from major cities such as London supply drugs to suburban areas such as Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire using dedicated phone lines. You may have heard this referred to in the news as ‘county lines’. The drugs being sold are mainly heroin and crack cocaine.
When dealers move into the area they often take advantage of more vulnerable people (young people, the elderly or those with mental health issues) by taking over their home and using it as a base for their criminal operations. This is what’s known as ‘cuckooing’.
Signs that cuckooing might be taking place include:
- if you’ve not seen your neighbour for a long time, or there are more people coming and going than before
- if your neighbour seems on edge, more withdrawn or their behaviour has changed recently
- the neighbour’s home may have become very messy, perhaps there might be more takeaway boxes around than you might expect.
Sometimes the gangs can target children as young as 10 or 11 and recruit them into their network. There are signs to spot where children and young people might be involved:
- they might have more than one phone, particularly older and cheaper handsets
- they might have large amounts of cash or luxury items like expensive clothes, trainers and jewellery.
It is also worth keeping an eye our for items associated with drug dealing, like bags, cling film, rubber bands, digital scales, Vaseline and baby wipes.
Our staff are entering our customers’ homes daily and may be able to identify where county lines or cuckooing might be taking place, however if you’re concerned about anything you see
- please report it to the police on 101 (or in an emergency dial 999)
- contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you would prefer to remain anonymous.