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Report concerns about county lines and cuckooing

‘County lines’ is the name given to gangs and organised criminal networks who move illegal drugs out of bigger cities and into smaller towns.

These gangs sometimes take over the home of a vulnerable person and use the property as a base for drug dealing. This is known as ‘cuckooing’.

Victims of cuckooing are often intimidated, exploited or threatened with violence.

County lines gangs target vulnerable people, such as:

  • young people, who are recruited to deal drugs locally but also moved around the country, usually by train, to deal drugs for gangs
  • people who live on their own, or isolated from others
  • people living with addiction issues
  • people suffering from mental health issues

How to spot possible victims

You may see changes in someone’s behaviour, such as:

  • changes in daily routines – going out at unsociable hours, or not going out at all
  • going missing for a few days with no explanation
  • being secretive about who they are talking to
  • changes in emotional or physical wellbeing
  • spending habits – suddenly having new clothes and money to spend with no explanation of where it has come from

You may notice unfamiliar vehicles outside a property and new people in the area who are visiting or moving into the property of a vulnerable person.

Report concerns

When reporting county lines or cuckooing, try to provide any:

  • names
  • addresses or locations
  • ages or age ranges of children and groomers
  • number plates, makes and models of any vehicles involved
  • details as to why you suspect county lines or cuckooing

Report potential victims of county lines and cuckooing

If you are concerned someone may be a victim of county lines or cuckooing, report it:

Immediate danger

Call 999 if you think someone is in immediate danger.

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