There is a crime known as cuckooing, where drug dealers and drug gangs befriend vulnerable individuals and use their homes. London drug gangs then stash drugs, money, weapons and stolen goods. And this crime is escalating to alarming levels in the UK.
Police say thousands of British homes are being infiltrated by ruthless gangs from London. The criminals utilize the premises and turn it into what is known as a “trap house”. Staying one step ahead of the law, the drug criminals often use violence, drugs and threats to keep their victims silent.
Cuckooing is not new to the UK, it is a ploy that has been used by drug lords and gang members for many years. Recently, however, this cold-hearted tactic is being used more and more. Police are cracking down on illegal drug distribution through more targeted raids.
Police sergeant, Diane Hill, who works for the Metropolitan police, said: “Thousands of people across the UK are affected by this. In the last month in Greenwich West we have had three cuckooing incidents. Across the whole of Britain it’s a vast problem.”
Sergeant Hill added: “The gangs befriend people who are too vulnerable to realise what’s going on … They are using their flat for dealing and it is not good thing. Maybe the dealers will pay the electricity bill or buy a TV and then they take over the flat and people are so vulnerable they don’t realise the consequences.”
County police all over the UK are very much aware of the scale of the problem. Cuckooing mainly affects the poorer communities within the UK.
Vulnerable individuals are specifically targeted as they are considered easy to manipulate and less likely to report the problem. Dealers are also callously targeting teenagers to sell the drugs for them.
Counties all over the UK including Essex, Northants, Yorkshire, Devon, Bedfordshire, London, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Cardiff and Sussex are all reporting incidents of cuckooing. Many of the drug gangs are London based and this is their way of widening their drug distribution net.
The National Police Chiefs Council lead on drugs, Commander Simon Bray confirmed that police from all over the UK are working together in order to reduce the scale of the problem; he said: “Cuckooing persists as a problem … it is a big problem. There has been investment in coordinating a national hub to bring in information form all forces to gather information.”
BBC news recently reported that according to HM Courts and Tribunal Service, there has been a total of 187 cuckooing convictions in the South of England alone over the past three years.
It is evident from police and news reports that many vulnerable individuals are greatly suffering as a result. In some cases extreme violence is used by the drug dealers in order to keep control of trap houses and their occupants.
In June 2018, two men from London were arrested and convicted of raping two vulnerable women who’s homes they took over in Carlisle to sell and store drugs. The two London drug dealers were combinely sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment for rape, drugs offences, possession of crack cocaine with intent to supply, money laundering and actual bodily harm.
This is just one of many cuckooing examples where shocking levels of violence have been involved. The vast majority of cuckooing incidents go unreported through fear of reprisals from the gangs responsible.
Those that suffer from an addiction to Class A drugs such as crack cocaine or heroin, will do almost anything to satisfy the constant craving and compulsion of their drug addiction.
Drug gangs will often reel addicted individuals in by keeping them supplied in drugs and initially gaining their trust. This trust is then exploited as the dealers take over the individuals home and life whilst they are at their most desperate and vulnerable.
Not only will these vulnerable addicts fear the threat of violence from the gangs responsible, but they will also fear their supply of drugs being cut off by the dealers. This makes those with a drug problem prime targets for this particular despicable crime.
If you are a victim of cuckooing it is vital that you tell someone who can help. London drug gangs are becoming more and more bold. However, the police have the power to ensure your safety. If you have a disability or mental health problem be sure to confide in your mental health services. Your housing association, social worker or carer could also be a source of help. Please tell someone, so that you are not alone in dealing with the problem!
Drug dealers thrive on fear; they count on your fear in order to keep their illicit businesses safe.
If you have an addiction to drugs and want help, please get in touch. Alternatively, your local drug and alcohol services can help. You can also report the issue anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They are currently running a campaign to clamp down on cuckooing in the UK.
For private addiction treatment help and residential rehab for drug addiction or alcohol rehab in London or Essex area, please call Step by Step Recovery directly or complete our online assessment form.
Sources and References