Cheshire East
Safeguarding Adults Board

Cuckooing / County Lines



'Cuckooing' is the term used to describe the practice where professional drug dealers/Crime Gangs take over the property of an adult at risk and use it as a place from which to run their drugs business/ crime activity.

The criminals will target those who are vulnerable, potentially as a result of substance abuse, mental health issues, Learning Disability or loneliness, and befriend them or promise them drugs in exchange for being able to use their property. The gangs can send vulnerable young people and adults from their own area to stay at a house and distribute the drugs, again often intimidating and threatening them to stay.

The impact of this is that vulnerable individuals become indebted to gang/groups and are forced into labour, slavery and exploitation to pay off debts. Report anything suspicious to 101.

County lines


County Lines is a very serious issue where criminal gangs set up a drug dealing operation in a place outside their usual operating area. Gangs will move their drug dealing from big cities (for example London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham etc.) to smaller towns in order to make more money. They are likely to exploit children and adults at risk to move and store the drugs, arms and money and they will often use coercion, intimidation, violence (including sexual violence), forced labour/slavery and weapons. For more information and warning signs please visit the County Lines page on the Cheshire Police websiteReport anything suspicious to 101.

Information and Resources

  • The National County Lines Coordination Centre have produced this short film to raise awareness of the impact county lines has on society.