Recently, here at Valkyrie, we had a call from a client who thought they were about to be a victim of cuckooing.  Cuckooing is a form of crime, termed by the police, in which drug dealers take over the home of a vulnerable person in order to use it as a base for county lines drug trafficking. The crime is named for the cuckoo’s practice of taking over other birds’ nests for its young.

We set up on of Valkyrie’s surveillance teams at the client’s address and watched the house.  After a while, we gained information to suggest the client’s fears were unfortunately true.  We then gave this information to the police, who have since arrested the criminals.

As of the 2010s, cuckooing was becoming an increasingly common problem in the South of England.

Who are the victims of cuckooing? 

Victims of ‘cuckooing’ are often drug users but can include older people, those suffering from mental or physical health problems, female sex workers, single mums and those living in poverty. Victims may suffer from other forms of addiction, such as alcoholism.

Once they gain control, gangs move in with the risk of domestic abuse, sexual exploitation and violence. Children as well as adults are used as drug runners.

It’s common for gangs to have access to several addresses. They move quickly between vulnerable people’s homes for just a few hours, a couple of days or sometimes longer. This helps gangs evade detection.

These gangs may use accommodation in rural areas, including serviced apartments, holiday lets, budget hotels and caravan parks.

Some vulnerable adults may be forced to leave their homes, making themselves homeless and leaving the gangs free to sell drugs in their absence.
What are the signs of cuckooing?

  • Signs that ‘cuckooing’ may be going on at a property include:
  • 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 drugs use
  • Lack of healthcare visitors

If you have suspicions, please call the police or Crimestoppers.


Here at Valkyrie, we provide home security advice, amongst other services.  Please contact us at e: or telephone us at 02074 999 323

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