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Drug related activity can be complex and is not always easy to identify. There are various drug related activities that fall outside of substance misuse or dealing.

If you suspect any drug related activity, you can call the police on 101. If you don’t want to speak to the police directly, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Following this, report the incident to us and attach any supporting information you have.


If the situation is not an emergency, but requires police advice and intervention, please call 101.


Remember: if there is an immediate emergency and you or anyone else are in danger, please call 999.


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Key Definitions

County lines is a term used when drug gangs from larger cities expand their operations to smaller towns. They often use violence to drive out local dealers and exploit children and vulnerable people to sell drugs (known as drug runners.)

These dealers will use dedicated mobile phone lines (known as ‘deal lines’) to take orders from drug customers.

In most instances, drug customers will live in a different area to where the drug dealers are based. As a result, drug runners are needed to transport the drugs and collect payment.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) has more information about county lines, providing information on how to spot the signs that it’s happening and how to report concerns.

The best advice is to trust your instincts. Even if someone isn’t involved in county lines drug dealing, they may be being exploited in some other way, so it’s always worth speaking out.

Cuckooing is when professional criminals target the homes of adults with support needs so that the property can be used for the manufacture and/or sale of drugs.

These criminals are very selective about who they target as ‘cuckoo’ victims and are often entrepreneurial. A lot of the time, cuckoo victims are lonely and isolated. They are usually frequent drug users themselves, and may already be known to the police. Dealers often approach the victim offering free drugs in order to use their home for dealing.

This means that the criminals can operate from a discreet property which is out of sight, making it an attractive option. Often, criminals will have a number of properties they cuckoo, meaning they can quickly flit between properties when needed.

When the criminals use the victim’s property for criminal enterprises, the inhabitants become terrified of going to the police for fear of being suspected of involvement in drug dealing, or being identified as a member of the group, which would result in their eviction from the property.

There some important signs to look out for if you feel you are living within, or near, a property used to deal drugs:

  • usually takes place in a multi-occupancy or social housing property
  • an increase in the number of coming and goings
  • offenders will often have new vehicles outside the property, frequently use taxis or hire cars
  • possible increase in ASB activity in and around the property
  • disengagement with support services
  • professionals visiting may be aware of new unidentified persons in the property
  • the property may become to appear almost sparse of valuable possessions inside and go into a state of disrepair