Gangs involved in serious and organised crime target vulnerable people in order to further their business and make more money.
They cynically target people who may have drug or alcohol dependencies, mental health issues or disabilities and move in with them.
They then use the property as the basis of their criminal activity, leaving the person who’s home it is increasingly vulnerable to being victimised.
Chief Inspector Pete Basham, who is heading this week’s serious and organised crime week of action, said: “Organised gangs have no qualms in targeting the most vulnerable in society in their bid to make as much money as possible.
“Once they gain control, they move in, at which point the resident becomes increasingly at risk of domestic abuse, sexual exploitation and violence.
“It’s common for gangs to use multiple properties at the same time, moving between them in order to maximise their business.”
Chief Insp Basham added: “We work closely with colleagues in our local councils to not only tackle the offenders cuckooing addresses but also support the people who have been taken advantage of.
“However, we can only do that if we know that cuckooing is taking place, so I’m asking that anyone who has any concerns about family, friends or neighbours to please report those concerns.
“You can report concerns at northants.police.uk, by calling 101, speaking to local police officer or PCSO, or calling independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
Signs that 'cuckooing' may be going on at a property include: