What is ‘Cuckooing’? The criminal trend Edinburgh police are warning residents about

Police have asked residents to be on the lookout for the disturbing new crime.

Police in Edinburgh have warned residents to be vigilant about a new criminal trend in the UK called “cuckooing”.

Taken from the name of the birds, which secretly put their own eggs into the nests of other birds, “cuckooing” is the term used by police to describe when criminals work their way into the homes of vulnerable people.

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Police in Edinburgh have warned residents to be vigilant about a new criminal trend in the UK called “cuckooing”.

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Purposefully choosing a victim they think they can scare, bully or control, criminals move into their target’s home - living there without paying rent, and often using it as a safe place to sell drugs from.

Police Scotland said “cuckoos” may physically, sexually, or financially abuse their victims to maintain control.

Warning signs

Officers have drawn together a list of signs to look out for in your area:

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– A lot of different people visiting someone’s house

– People calling at all times of the day and night or different cars pulling up outside

– If the neighbour has not been seen for a while

– Signs of drug equipment or empty cans and bottles

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– Increased litter outside or other anti-social behaviour

Warning residents about the new trend, police in Edinburgh said: “We’re asking residents to look out for signs of ‘cuckooing’ – when drug dealers target vulnerable people by taking over their homes to store or deal drugs.

“If you see anything suspicious, report it so we can investigate and take action.”

If you suspect a neighbour is being “cuckooed”, you can report it to Social Care Direct on 0131 200 2324 or the police on 101.

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When The Edinburgh Evening News asked Police Scotland if this warning was in response to incidents in Edinburgh and the Lothians, a spokesperson said “the message is part of routine crime prevention and public messaging, rather than in response to any specific particular rise or incident.”

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