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Drug dealers forcing vulnerable Shrewsbury people out of their homes

By Lucy Todman | Shrewsbury | Crime | Published:

Drug dealers are targetting vulnerable people, taking over their homes and forcing them on to the streets, police in Shrewsbury warned today.

Like a cuckoo, the dealer moves in, takes over the property, and turns it into a drugs den

This week, two vulnerable people were forced out of their Shrewsbury home by drug dealers who used intimidating behaviour to make them leave so the dealers could move in - a process known as 'cuckooing'.

Officers from West Mercia Police, working alongside Shropshire Council, swooped on the address in Crowmere Road on Thursday after the remaining resident of the property contacted officers.

They found that the house had become a cuckooing address and drugs were being sold to users regularly.

Cuckooing is where drug dealers target the homes of vulnerable, lonely and isolated people. They then use the property to deal drugs. There has been a dramatic increase in the crime with many people living in rented or social housing being targeted.

A number of reports had been made to the police about the address in the Monkmoor area of Shrewsbury. A number of suspicious males had been staying at the property who did not actually live there. There had also been an increase in the number of people coming and going from the address.

According to police, the men in question were intimidating and persuaded two of the residents to leave on a semi-permanent basis.

The police said that this was unacceptable and, after regular patrols to gain intelligence, officers attended the premises after the remaining resident called to say what was going on. Once inside the property, police found an assortment of drug paraphernalia.

A West Mercia Police spokeswoman said: "West Mercia are committed to tackling people who are involved in drug supply and use in our communities. The use of drugs in our communities can be linked to other types of crime such as theft and anti-social behaviour.

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"The residents at the property have been temporarily re-housed and the property has been boarded up to deter any further cuckooing activity. This is a superb example of multi agency teamwork between the police and various partner agencies."

Cuckooing is thought to be on the increase with urban dealers targeting small, rural and coastal towns where there is little or no competition. Like a cuckoo, the dealer moves in, takes over the property, and turns it into a drugs den.

If you know of a property that could be a victim of cuckooing call police on 101. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or at crimestoppers-uk.org

Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman
@shroptod

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.

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