Officers have last night (12 February) executed a warrant in the Barugh Green area of Barnsley to identify and expose offenders of ‘cuckooing’ and drug dealing as part of a county lines operation.
Cuckooing is the exploitation of vulnerable people by organised crime groups. Offenders prey on the vulnerabilities of victims, often using violence to take over their homes.
They may use the house for a few hours, days, or sometimes longer for the supply and distribution of drugs in one area.
In January, we received reports of cars believed to be drug dealing, coming and going from an address.
Police Community Support Officers (PCSO’s) attended and completed a vulnerability assessment on the owner. A 68-year-old man was identified as being highly vulnerable and susceptible to manipulation. The man also disclosed to officers that people were using his house for drug use.
They had used threats of violence, which intimated the man and led him to be too scared to peruse police action.
Following the warrant being executed, two woman were found at the address. A 29 year-old and a 35 year-old were arrested for possession with intent to supply at the address.
While officers were there, carrying out their investigations, a man and woman attended the address in a car. The driver and passenger immediately tried to drive away, causing damage to a police van. Both the man and the woman ran off on foot, after a short pursuit they were detained. A 39 year-old man was arrested for theft of a motor vehicle and a 45-year-old-woman was also arrested for theft of a motor vehicle.
Following intelligence, prior to the warrant, our officers were able to work closely with the Stronger Communities Partnership, part of Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council to secure a place at a rehabilitation centre for the victim to receive help for his addiction.
Officers have also obtained a closure order for the property. This ensures that nobody except the owner, police or council can gain access for three months.
Sgt David Baines said: “We will continue to tackle this type of criminality and working with partners to protect our most vulnerable people and continue to raise awareness.
“This doesn’t mean that those involved in criminality will simply be let off, but we need to protect them and put safeguarding measures in place so they do not become a repeat victim of crime or involved in this type of criminality again.”
“If you suspect somebody is a victim of cuckooing, please contact police on 101 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”
What are the signs of cuckooing?
- An increase in people entering and leaving
- An increase in cars or bikes outside
- Possible increase in anti-social behaviour
- Increasing litter outside
- Signs of drug use
- Lack of healthcare visitors
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