Posted 24/10/2022

Swan and Essex Police work together to tackle ‘cuckooing’ in tenant’s home

Neighbourhood Officers from Swan have helped a vulnerable tenant after assisting Essex Police in a successful prosecution.

Neighbourhood Officer, Tracy Venton, alongside Swan’s Anti-Social-Behaviour (ASB) team, worked with Essex Police’s County Lines and Urban Street Gangs Unit as part of Operation Raptor North, to the share intelligence, evidence and CCTV footage.

This led to the arrest and conviction of a senior member of a county line organised crime group who was supplying Class A drugs from a Swan tenant’s property in Chelmsford. This practice is known as ‘cuckooing’ and can be devastating for the victim.

The Judge sentenced the defendant, from East London, to 40 months in prison and described him as “having a significant management or operational role” and said he must have had “some awareness of the size of the operation”.

The term ‘cuckooing’ is where vulnerable people have their homes taken over by organised crime groups to use as a base for drug dealing and the storage of weapons, cash and other criminal activity.

People being cuckooed will often be exposed to physical, mental, or sexual abuse, and exploitation. This will prevent them from being able to speak up through fear of further harm.  They may also be given ‘free’ or ‘discounted’ drugs to keep them hooked and under their control.

Tracy said: “We are continuing to support the tenant who is in contact with a local drug recovery service. We’ve also noticed a significant reduction in reports by local residents relating to drug users and ‘unsavoury characters’ in the local area since the conviction.”

A spokesman for the Operation Raptor team added: “This case shows how positive results can be achieved through multi agency coordination. Thanks again to Swan for its assistance in this case.”