FOUR people have been arrested as part of an operation to identify and expose offenders of ‘cuckooing’ and drug dealing.

Cuckooing is the exploitation of vulnerable people by organised crime groups. Offenders prey on the vulnerabilities of victims, often using violence to take over their homes.

On Tuesday officers executed a warrant at a house in Barugh Green after a 68-year-old man confided to a PCSO that people were using his house for drug use and he was identified as being highly vulnerable and susceptible to manipulation.

Two women, a 29 year-old and a 35 year-old were arrested for possession with intent to supply at the address.

While officers were there, a man and woman attended the address in a car. 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, after a short pursuit they were detained. 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.

Sgt 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."