The police have issued a guide on how to spot 'cuckooing' after four men were arrested for suspected drug supplying.

On Wednesday Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Operation Mantis put months of preparation into action, swooping on the properties of four suspects from Stoke Newington, Drayton Park, South Norwood and Hertford Road in Enfield.

Supported by the National Crime Agency and Eastern Region Special Operations Unit, the force served warrants at addresses across the county as part of a national drive led by the new National County Lines Co-ordination Centre, to disrupt and arrest those involved in County Lines.

Detective Inspector Jim Luxon from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Op Mantis team, said: “Following on from our last week of action in October, we are looking to keep the pressure on those involved in gangs and drug related crime.

"We’re being proactive in preventing these organisations from moving into Hertfordshire, which is a growing national issue that we must target through early disruption and, wherever possible, before serious offences occur.

“Police forces across the country took part in the coordinated week of action to target those who are involved in drugs supply and exploiting the vulnerable.

"These gangs work and supply drugs across county borders, so we have worked closely with neighbouring forces to identify and gather evidence against those involved.

“Often the victims of this type of crime are young and vulnerable people who are threatened and exploited by these gangs. The impact on the local communities where they operate can be significant, spreading crime and violence."

County Lines is the name given to describe drug dealing, which involves criminal networks from urban areas expanding their activities into smaller towns and rural areas.

It often involves the exploitation of children, as gangs use young people and those with mental health or addiction problems to transport drugs and money.

These gangs establish a base in the location they are targeting, often taking over the homes of local vulnerable adults by force or coercion in a practice referred to as ‘cuckooing’.

Dealers typically use a single phone line to facilitate the supply of Class A drugs to customers.

The phone line is highly valuable and is protected through violence and intimidation.

What is Cuckooing?

Cuckooing is the term used when gangs establish a base in the location they are targeting, often taking over the homes of vulnerable adults by force or coercion.

How to spot the signs that cuckooing might be happening in your neighbourhood:

• Lots of different people coming and going from an address during the day and at night.

• Suspicious smells coming from the property.

• Windows covered or curtains closed all of the time.

• Cars pulling up to or near to the house for a short period of time.

• An increase in anti-social behaviour around the property.

If someone you know has a drug problem, they can get help by contacting Frank on 0800 77 66 00 or visiting