Supporting vulnerable people to make communities a safer place to be

Have you heard of the term cuckooing before? 

Cuckooing is a term used when someone takes over the home of another person – usually vulnerable adults who they believe can be easily exploited. The main purpose of ‘cuckooing’ often involves drug dealing, and organised crimes groups coordinate this. 

Not everyone who is dealing drugs in this area lives locally, often they are from bigger cities such as Liverpool or Manchester and they are known as ‘County Lines’ dealers. 

County Lines dealers travel from large cities to deal drugs in other areas, often using local people to deal for them or taking over other people’s houses to store or deal drugs. 

We are currently working with Greater Manchester Police Complex Safeguarding Team, Neighbourhood Policing Team and Project GULF to help and support tenants that could become victims of cuckooing.

In June 2021, Greater Manchester Police made us aware of a serious incident at a ForHousing property and made us aware of a vulnerable tenant, George* who they believed was a victim of cuckooing. 

Working quickly, Greater Manchester Police arranged to move George to emergency temporary accommodation in order to make sure they were kept safe.  

George is known within the community to be very vulnerable as he regularly depends on alcohol and drugs, and he needs a lot of support.

A referral was made to adult social care for a social worker to be allocated and we worked closely with the police to make sure George had all their essential items and prescription medication. 

We worked closely with the police to make sure the property was secure, and supported the criminal investigation by sharing information and identifying other potential victims of cuckooing by carrying out joint home visits. 

By working with the GMP’s complex safeguarding team, we found that Salford was not an area that would be safe to rehouse George, because of the fear of what he had already experienced. We were worried that if George remained in Salford, they would be targeted and exploited again. 

We worked with our partners in Knowsley to allocate a more suitable property, ensuring that this would be a permanent relocation to a new area that would be safe for George.

Referrals were made to CGL (drug & Alcohol services) TSS and adult social care to ensure George had access to support in his new home.  

We also made a referral through to Merseyside Police’s Operation Lampury who identify any cuckooing concerns within Knowsley. Making the move as smooth as possible and hopefully preventing George from become a victim of cuckooing in the future. 

We are continuing to work with GMP’s Complex Safeguarding Team, Neighbourhood Policing Team, Project Gulf and the Threat to Life Team to tackle this ongoing issue to make sure ForHousing communities are a safe place to live.

*Name has been changed to protect individuals identity.  

If you would like to share your story, please get in touch via communications@forviva.co.uk