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Criminals ‘cuckooing’ in homes of vulnerable

Vulnerable people’s homes are being used as cover for drugs barons and other criminals, police revealed yesterday.

Police said intelligence suggested that older people and other at-risk groups were being used by “cuckoos” — criminals who use violence or threats to get access to people’s homes to sell drugs or plan crimes.

A police spokesman said: “Members of the community most susceptible to ‘cuckooing’ are those suffering from drug/alcohol addiction, mental or physical health problems, our seniors, as well as those living in poverty with limited financial resources.

“It is common for offenders involved in this type of criminal behaviour to have access to several addresses, allowing them to move quickly between locations for both short periods of time or multiple days, which can reduce opportunities for them being detected by police.”

He said some signs of “cuckooing” include an increase in the number of strangers visiting a home, more vehicles on a property, an increase in antisocial behaviour and litter and evidence of drug use.

The spokesman added that anyone with suspicions that homes may have been taken over by crooks should contact the police Vulnerable Persons Unit at 247-1678 or the independent and anonymous Crime Stoppers hotline on 800-8477.