An elderly man ended up hooked on crack cocaine after a sick criminal gang threatened him with violence and started using his home as a drugs den.
Specialist officers raided a property in Barugh Green last night following reports that cars had been spotted coming and going from the address.
They discovered that a criminal gang had been using the home of a 69-year-old man, who police described as ‘vulnerable and susceptible to manipulation’, as a base for drug dealing.
The victim had also become hooked on Class A drugs.
Police said the gang threatened him with violence to scare him off from going to the police so they could turn his home into a drugs den – a practice known in the criminal underworld as ‘cuckooing’.
Police arrested two women, aged 29 and 35, for drugs possession with intent to supply.
While officers were there carrying out investigations, a man and woman also arrived outside in a car.
Police said the driver and passenger immediately tried to drive away, causing damage to a police van.
Both the man and the woman ran off on foot but officers caught up with them.
A 39 year-old man was arrested for theft of a motor vehicle and a 45-year-old-woman was also arrested for theft of a motor vehicle.
Police, working with the Stronger Communities Partnership at Barnsley Council, managed to secure a place at a rehabilitation centre for the victim to receive help for his addiction.
Officers have also obtained a closure order for the property, which ensures that nobody except the owner, police or council can gain access for three months.
Sergeant David Baines said: “We will continue to tackle this type of criminality and working with partners to protect our most vulnerable people and continue to raise awareness.
“This doesn’t mean that those involved in criminality will simply be let off, but we need to protect them and put safeguarding measures in place so they do not become a repeat victim of crime or involved in this type of criminality again.”
“If you suspect somebody is a victim of cuckooing, please contact police on 101 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”