Cheshire Constabulary’s Task Force and Local Policing Unit officers from Congleton have served Section 8 Misuse of Drugs Act notices to six properties in the town.
The operation, targeting those involved in the supply of controlled drugs and aiming to protect vulnerable people coerced into being a part of it, took place in Congleton on Tuesday 20 February.
In recent years Cheshire Constabulary has seen an increase in reports of vulnerable people being subjected to what in urban street slang is known as ‘cuckooing’.
Cuckooing occurs when organised crime groups prey on the vulnerable and turn their homes into drugs dens.
There are many forms of cuckooing, but the most common sees dealers ‘pay’ addicts with free drugs in exchange for running illegal drug operations out of their home.
Other cases have seen dealers take over an addict’s home as payment for a drugs debt, and it is not only drug addicts who can fall victim. There have also been cases of vulnerable people, such as the elderly, disabled and those with learning difficulties, having their homes taken over by drug dealers.
Sergeant Andy Nixon of Cheshire Constabulary’s Task Force, which is made up of uniform and plain clothes officers with specialist skills to help Local Policing Units keep criminals on the back foot, said: “We are determined to crack down on those involved in the supply of controlled drugs and protect the vulnerable people affected.
“We held our first operation targeting homes that we believe may be involved in the supply of controlled drugs in Widnes at the start of the year.
“Our second operation in Congleton was equally successful.
“Supported by officers from Congleton, we visited six homes and served them with Section 8 Misuse of Drugs Act notices.
“This act relates to occupiers and those concerned in the management of any premises where illegal drug activity takes place.
“The notice informs such people that Cheshire Constabulary knows what they are doing and that now is the chance for them to tell us if they need help, are being bullied into being a part of illegal activity or simply want to pack it in.
“We will give those people all the help that they need.
“But if our offer of help is turned down and drug offences take place following our visit those people will be prosecuted for the offences.”
If you suspect a property to be a drugs den, or believe that somebody you know is being exploited by criminals, you should call Cheshire Constabulary on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Anyone who wants help with ending their involvement with illegal drug activity should call 101 and ask to speak to a local intelligence officer.