News and events for University of Brighton students

Cuckooing - Spot the signs

Can you help Sussex Police keep your neighbours safe?

Have you heard of cuckooing or so-called “mate crime”? Sussex Police are appealing to students living in and around Brighton and Eastbourne to help to spot and stop this insidious crime. In doing so, you are helping to protect the most vulnerable people in our communities.

Cuckooing (named after the bird that invades other bird’s nests) or so-called “mate crime” is a type of hate crime where perpetrators befriend vulnerable people, such as those with learning disabilities, and exploit them. The victims are often lonely and isolated. Sometimes they are drug users themselves and already known to the police.

The perpetrators begin by befriending the vulnerable person, offering them freebies and making them feel special. Once the vulnerable person allows them into their home, the perpetrators quickly change their attitude, and the vulnerable person finds themselves in debt from the supposed freebies. The vulnerable person may then be forced to deal drugs in order to repay the debt.

Sussex Police need people like you to tell us when a neighbour, or someone you know, may be being targeted. Tell the police in confidence if:

  • There is an increase in visitors, day and night, who don’t stay for long
  • There are lots more cars outside including taxi and hire cars
  • There are signs of drug use.

Email with the subject Op Cuckoo and as much detail as possible. Sussex Police will respond, alongside colleagues from the housing provider and the council, to protect the vulnerable person.

If in doubt, you can also speak in confidence to our Police Liaison Officer, PC Roisin Vafaee. You can reach out to Roisin about anything going on in your community that you’re worried about, or about other related issues.

Robin Coleman • May 3, 2019

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