Cracking down on drug gangs

‘Cuckooing’ and ‘county drug lines’ are not everyday phrases we’d expect you to be familiar with. Yet the most vulnerable people in our communities are among those most likely to be targeted by this new wave of gangland crime spreading across the UK.

Drug dealers, often from big cities such as London, are moving into new areas like Bedfordshire to sell their products. They set up a single telephone number for ordering drugs, which is operated outside the area. This is known as the ‘county drug line’.


Often, these dealers will take advantage of vulnerable people, taking over their home and using it as a base for their criminal activities. This is known as ‘cuckooing’.


These gangs are often violent and extremely intimidating. They have links to other forms of exploitation such as human trafficking, modern slavery and child sexual exploitation.

bpha is taking action

Bedfordshire Police has carried out dozens of raids and other operations across Bedfordshire to disrupt these gangs and protect residents. bpha has worked closely with the police, safeguarding agencies and crime reduction partners to make our communities as safe as possible.


However, it’s absolutely crucial that Bedfordshire Police get the information they need to stop these gangs exploiting vulnerable people. They need people with close links in communities at risk of ‘cuckooing’ to let them know what’s going on so they can help.


It’s absolutely crucial that Bedfordshire Police get the information they need to stop these gangs exploiting vulnerable people.


How to spot it in your community

Signs that someone is being cuckooed may not be obvious. It could be that you haven’t seen your neighbour for a long time, or perhaps there are more people coming and going than before. Their home might have become very messy, or there could be a lot more takeaway boxes around than you’d expect.


You shouldn’t attempt to intervene yourself. Many of those involved are professional criminals. Bedfordshire Police knows how to remove them safely and protect those at risk.


If you suspect that cuckooing and exploitation might be going on in your neighbourhood, no matter how small the sign is, Bedfordshire Police wants to hear from you.


With your help, we can all do our bit to keep vulnerable people in Bedfordshire safe.


How to report it

If it’s an emergency and you see something happening there and then, call 999. If it’s not as urgent, and you want to report something, call 101 or visit the reporting section on Bedfordshire Police’s website: Bedfordshire.police.uk/report


If you’d rather not speak to them, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, or go online and visit Crimestoppers-uk.org


With your help, we can all do our bit to keep vulnerable people in Bedfordshire safe. So remember: connect the dots; submit the information; stop the gangs.