Camden police take to streets to tackle 'ruinous' cuckooing

Police have visited residents' homes to talk about the dangers

Police have visited residents' homes to talk about the dangers - Credit: Joshua Thurston

Camden police have set out this week to tackle the “ruinous” exploitation of vulnerable adults who fall victim to “cuckooing”.  

The practice is used in county lines trafficking where gang members deal drugs and collect takings using the homes of vulnerable residents, with these bases often then leading to violent crime.  

The victim can be exploited and coerced to participate in criminal acts, including young people in precarious situations who are vulnerable to manipulation. 

Camden police have spent this week conducting joint patrols with Camden Council community officers to provide leaflets and discuss with residents how they can be safeguarded from cuckooing. 

This work has been supported by a social media campaign including the council’s safer streets team, and the outreach unit of Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust.  

Camden police are working with the council's safer streets team

Camden police are working with the council's safer streets team - Credit: Joshua Thurston

In cases of cuckooing, gangs often prey on vulnerable people seeking companionship.  

The victims will allow the use of their homes, which then host the holding and running of drugs to aid the illegal substances’ production, preparation and sale.  

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Acting Superintendent Elaina Usher, Camden’s head of neighbourhood policing, said: “Cuckooing is a ruinous practice of criminals taking over the home of a vulnerable person and it is a scourge on our local community.  

“My officers are committed to protecting our residents as well as bringing offenders to justice.” 

Officers out on the street

Officers out on the street - Credit: Joshua Thurston

Cllr Nadia Shah, Camden’s cabinet member for safer communities, said: “The practice of cuckooing is particularly upsetting as it tends to be focused on the more vulnerable residents in our communities. 

“Although thankfully not considered widespread across the borough, the nature of this type of crime means that it is often harder to identify.” 

Cllr Shah added: “I would also ask all Camden residents to be good citizens and mindful to any noticeable changes in visitors and routines in their communities that might indicate that something is amiss, and especially to remember to check in regularly with any vulnerable or older neighbours.” 

For more information on cuckooing visit    

On patrol

Police on patrol - Credit: Joshua Thurston