Posted: Fri 11th Dec 2020

Drug dealers ‘cuckooing’ vulnerable Flintshire council tenants in dealt with under nuisance neighbour complaints

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Dec 11th, 2020

Concerns about drug dealers taking over the homes of vulnerable tenants are among the many complaints dealt with by a local authority within the last 12 months.

Flintshire Council has revealed details of the dozens of anti-social behaviour incidents relating to council properties reported to it each year.

Officials said the majority of cases were low level neighbour disputes, which can be handled through either through mediation or warning letters.

However, a report going to councillors also highlights some of the more serious crimes, where the council has had to call the police in to help protect residents.

During December 2019, the authority was made aware of several reports of “cuckooing” occurring within two high-rise flat blocks at at Richard and Bolingbroke Heights in Flint.

Cuckooing is a form of crime in which drug dealers take over the home of a vulnerable person in order to use it as a base for county lines drug trafficking.

The report states: “The housing service and police were receiving extensive reports of high-level anti-social behaviour ranging from drug use to vulnerable tenants being ‘cuckooed’ within the block.

“Through intensive work and linking in with crime and disorder reduction partnerships the problem was tackled and perpetrators were dealt with through both criminal and housing-related interventions.

“Continued support has been provided to the tenants who have been adversely affected to ensure that they feel safe and secure within their home and community.”

During the 2019/20 financial year, the council received 202 anti-social behaviour complaints, including 29 related to drugs, 46 verbal threats and 46 regarding the state of people’s gardens.

It has already received 115 in 2020/21 to date, including nine drugs cases, following a spike in incidents during the coronavirus lockdown period.

The report states: “The number of reported cases has risen year on year with the highest recorded number during the recent lockdown restrictions.

“However, the number of cases which are closed as unresolved has significantly reduced which demonstrates more effective management of anti-social behaviour cases.

“We will adopt a multi-agency approach when dealing with cases and will work with partner agencies such as the police, social services, education and our community safety teams and will share information with appropriate partners and work within existing information sharing frameworks.

“There are a range of tools available including carrying out warning interviews, issuing formal/final warnings and acceptable behaviour contracts which can be issued as appropriate.”

The authority said it also works with North Wales Police to secure community protection notices and closure orders.

A total of four evictions were carried out between April 2019 and March 2020 as a direct result of anti-social behaviour.

The report outlining the council’s anti-social behaviour policy will be discussed by members of its community housing and assets scrutiny committee at a virtual meeting on Wednesday, December 16.

Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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