Three men, aged 20, 23 and 27, were detained following raids at properties on Selside Walk in Fallowfields and Duffield Court, on Brennan Close in Hulme, in the early hours of Thursday 16 March.
They were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply drugs, money laundering and participating in the activities of an organised crime group. All three are now in police custody waiting to be questioned.
A search of the properties resulted in drugs and approximately £12,000 being seized by officers from Challenger’s COM South organised crime team – supported by the Tactical Aid Unit – as part of their investigation into a suspected county lines criminal network.
A county line is the advertisement of illegal drugs via a mobile phone, known as a ‘graft line’, the drugs are then moved by dealers from one area to another as well as to other places across the country.
The organised crime groups exploit vulnerable people who may be disabled or addicted to class A drugs. They do this by moving into their home to use it as a drugs den, often banishing them into one room and left too scared to come out – it is a term referred to as cuckooing.
This operation identified one of the addresses may have been subject to cuckooing and the activity enabled safeguarding interventions to be put in place to protect those who could be vulnerable.
Detective Inspector Lee Newburn, from Challenger’s COM South organised crime team, said: “This morning we have detained three men who we suspect of being in control of a property used to store and deal class A drugs.
“We have also disrupted that property which has ensured those who are potentially being put a risk have been safeguarded and the threat posed from organised criminals has been disrupted.
“I want to take this opportunity to encourage the public to get to know the signs of drug activity and criminal exploitation and to report it, so we can take action that protects vulnerable people.”
Below are some pointers to check to see if cuckooing is taking place in your neighbourhood:
- Have you not seen your neighbour for a while? Or if you have, is there a clear change in their behaviour or routine?
- Has there been a noticeable increase in visitors to their property, perhaps at unsociable hours?
- Are the windows covered or the curtains closed at the property all the time?
- Do you see people you don’t recognise outside your neighbour’s property perhaps always talking on their phone?
If you believe drug activity or exploitation of vulnerable people is taking place in your community please contact GMP on 101 or by calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Always dial 999 if you are in danger.