What is Cuckooing?

Cuckooing is a practice where criminals take over a person’s home and use the property to facilitate exploitation. It takes the name from cuckoos who take over the nests of other birds.

There are different types of cuckooing:

  • Using the property to deal, store or take drugs
  • Using the property to sex work
  • Taking over the property as a place for them to live
  • Taking over the property to financially abuse the tenant

The most common form of cuckooing is where drug dealers take over a person’s home and use it to store or distribute drugs.

Spot the signs of Cuckooing

  •  Increase in people visiting the property during the day and night
  • Evidence of drug use in public areas
  • Increase in noise nuisance or anti-social behaviour at the property
  • Damage to doors or secure doors being propped open
  • Increase of cars or bikes outside the property
  • You haven't seen the resident recently
  • Change in dress
  • Unexplained injuries


If you have concerns someone is being cuckooed, you can report it to:

Bedfordshire Police on 101 in a non-emergency or 999 in an emergency or online at

Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online at - 100% anonymous

If you would like more information regarding cuckooing you can email