Police have raided dozens of homes and made several arrests as part of an investigation into Class A drugs offences by London-based organised criminal gangs.
An investigation by Thames Valley Police Serious and Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) uncovered a number of addresses targeted by gangs from London being used as a base for drug dealing.
The method referred to by the police as ‘cuckooing’ is where London-based criminal gangs are sending ‘runners’into Bracknell and surrounding areas to find vulnerable drug users homes that can be used as a base to sell Class A drugs.
The ‘runners’ take the house keys and run their illicit business from the property where the resident has no say in what happens or who visits.
Through Operation Rickon, police were able to execute 26 warrants including in Wokingham, Ascot and Reading, and arrested 19 people on suspicion of various drugs offences.
The suspects are currently in custody being questioned by detectives.
Head of SOCU, Det Supt Nick John, said: “Cuckooing enables the organised crime group to expand their operations into more rural areas, setting up a secure base and using runners to conduct day-to-day dealing whilst control of the ‘business’ is based in their own locality.
“The illegal drugs trade has a devastating impact on a community and the operation today is part of the Thames Valley Police crackdown on such criminal activity.
“We have also been working with our local partner agencies to offer support to those affected by the illegal drugs network.”
To report any suspected illegal activity call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymosly on 0800 555111.