What is cuckooing
Cuckooing is a practice where people take over a person’s home and use the property to facilitate exploitation. It takes the name from cuckoos who take over the nests of other birds.
There are different types of cuckooing:
- Using the property to deal, store or take drugs
- Using the property to sex work
- Taking over the property as a place for them to live
- Taking over the property to financially abuse the tenant
The most common form of cuckooing is where drug dealers take over a person’s home and use it to store or distribute drugs.
Mark, who was a victim of cuckooing, shares his story
People who choose to exploit will often target the most vulnerable in society. They establish a relationship with the vulnerable person to access their home.
Once they gain control over the victim - whether through drug dependency, debt or as part of their relationship – larger groups will sometimes move in.
Threats are often used to control the victim.
It is common for the drug dealers to have access to several cuckooed addresses at once, and to move quickly between them to evade detection.
The victims of cuckooing are often people who misuse substances such as drugs or alcohol, but there are cases of victims with learning difficulties, mental health issues, physical disabilities or socially isolated.