Police have said they are dedicated to tackling the issue of cuckooing after a woman had her property taken over by drug dealers.

Cuckooing is the term used to describe the actions of people who take over the homes of vulnerable people, often to use and deal drugs.

Police said recently a three-month council-led partial closure order was granted after a vulnerable woman suffering mental health issues had been cuckooed at her address in Maple Cross. She was exploited by those involved in drug dealing.

A drugs warrant was executed at the property, during which drugs and associated paraphernalia were recovered.

After the order was granted, the only people allowed to enter the address was the woman herself, her support workers, her GP and the emergency services. If anyone broke the terms of this order, they would be arrested.

The woman was referred to relevant support services to ensure she was receiving the help she needed.

Since this intervention, the number of reports of drug-related anti-social behaviour at her address have significantly diminished.

A spokesperson from Hertfordshire Constabulary said: “The safety and wellbeing of the communities we serve is of paramount importance and we take a number of actions in order to crack down on this type of crime.

“A large proportion of our work involves liaising closely with our partner organisations to ensure that no stone is left unturned in our mission to drive drug crime out of the county.

“We gather evidence and intelligence in order to take proportionate action to improve the lives of residents in the vicinity of a property that has been cuckooed.

“Where possible we make arrests, make referrals to the relevant partnership and support services as well as apply for and support applications for closure orders.”

Recently Three Rivers District Council said they were working with Herts Constabulary, Thrive Homes and Herts Fire and Rescue Service to raise awareness of cuckooing throughout the district.

Cllr Roger Seabourne, lead member of community safety and partnerships, said: “This is a priority for all agencies involved.

“We are working together to educate and protect the public who are vulnerable to cuckooing and the crimes that tend to surround this form of exploitation.”