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Cuckooing and County Lines

County Lines is a term used when drug gangs from big cities expand their operations to smaller towns.

A common feature is the exploitation of young and vulnerable people. In some cases, the gangs take over the homes of vulnerable residents as a base for their drug dealing. This is known as ‘Cuckooing’.

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

Signs to look out for:

  • An increase in people entering and leaving the property at odd times of the day and night
  • An unusually high number of vehicles outside the property for short periods
  • Increased antisocial behaviour in and around the property such as a build-up of rubbish in communal areas, increased noise or evidence of drug taking
  • Curtains or blinds closed all the time.

Call the police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


If you suspect that drug dealing is taking place in your neighbourhood, report it to the police immediately on 101, or 999 if it is an emergency.

Signs to look out for:

  • Lots of different people coming and going from an address and at odd times of the day and night
  • Strange smells coming from the property
  • Windows covered or curtains closed all the time
  • Cars near the property for a short period of time.

If you believe that perpetrator is a Sanctuary Housing resident, you can contact us confidentially on 0800 916 1522 or 0300 123 3568 once you have a crime reference number.

Further information about the types of antisocial behaviour: