A new action group has been set up in Kettering and Corby to tackle the numbers of vulnerable people having their homes taken over by criminal gangs and drug dealers.
Cuckooing is a growing phenomenon in the county and now the towns’ borough councils and law enforcement agencies have teamed up to try to stamp out the practice.
It comes after 82 people in Kettering had to be safeguarded between July and November after they were identified as part of Operation Viper, the police force crackdown on serious and organised crime. A number of the 82 people had been cuckooed with criminals moving into their homes and turning them into drugs dens.
A spokesman for Kettering Council said: “This is a relatively new partnership group, which has been in existence only for a few weeks. It comprises Northamptonshire Police in conjunction with both Corby and Kettering councils and their respective community safety teams, with input from probation and social services.”
The group, which will meet monthly and swap intelligence, will develop new measures to try to prevent people from being cuckooed and will raise public awareness of the practice.
Training will also be given to staff working in organisations which come into contact with vulnerable people and drug users, who are often the target of the illegal practice.
Police say signs that an address may be being cuckooed are increased visits to the property, security doors being wedged open and drug paraphenalia being discarded.
Measures already taken in Corby include the police cadets delivering leaflets to thousands of homes.
Corby councillor Mary Butcher has said the town has become more vulnerable to drug gangs infiltrating the town because of its rail links.