Sheffield houses raided by police and man handed jail sentence after ‘cuckooing’ fears in a city suburb

There is a growing concern of criminals taking advantage of vulnerable people in a city suburb
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Police have increased patrols in a Sheffield suburb after growing concern of criminals taking over vulnerable people’s homes.

Over the past two weeks, Sheffield North West Neighbourhood Policing Team has seized a quantity of drugs, cash and ammunition from a number of addresses in the Upperthorpe area of the city.

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It comes as part of an approach to tackle ‘cuckooing’ - a term to describe where people take over another person's house for criminal purposes. It takes its name from cuckoos who take over the nests of other birds.

A view of Upperthorpe, Sheffield, taken from Blake Street.  Picture: Marie CaleyA view of Upperthorpe, Sheffield, taken from Blake Street.  Picture: Marie Caley
A view of Upperthorpe, Sheffield, taken from Blake Street. Picture: Marie Caley

A force spokesperson said: “We have worked with our [Sheffield City Council] colleagues in changing the locks on properties where occupants had unwanted visitors using their homes, causing residents to experience noise and antisocial behaviour.

“A developing concern is that individuals involved in criminality are taking advantage of vulnerable members of the community.”

Recently, an elderly man found himself a victim of crime, after he was taken advantage of and was forced to drive drug dealers around in his car to do their business.

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Benjamin Gibson also took advantage of the victim, using his home to hide in. Fortunately, the victim was surrounded by concerned relatives and neighbours who reported this to the police.

Officers attended and detained Gibson, where he was found to be in possession of drugs and a zombie knife. 

Gibson, 32, of no fixed abode, was remanded in custody after failing to appear for his burglary charge. He has since been returned to prison to serve a 36-week sentence for possessing a bladed article.

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South Yorkshire Police can support victims of ‘cuckooing’ by obtaining closure orders and preventing entry to anyone other than the occupant.

If you have any concerns that a neighbour or a relative has new friends attending their address, or concerns around lots of vehicles coming and going, please report it to the force by calling 101. Alternatively you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.