Dorset woman exploited by drugs gang who took over her home

  • Video report by Max Walsh

A woman from Dorset has told ITV News about how she was exploited by a drugs gang who took over her home in what's known as 'cuckooing'.

It's a process where dealers take over a property to import and sell drugs to the local area.

Laura fell victim to cuckooing having struggled with heroin addiction for years.

Dealers from places like London and Liverpool prayed on her drug addiction, using as it a means to get inside her property before taking it over - often using violence and intimidation.

This process went on for two years and eventually led to her becoming homeless.

"They (drug dealers) hear from other people that you've got somewhere to live and then they try and bribe you with so many items of drugs.

"It's hard, because if you don't use, you go into withdrawals, it's just a vicious circle."

Thankfully, Laura is now 17 months clean and rebuilding her life in a new home.

Police forces in the South West are working together to crackdown on county lines drug dealing.

Sergeant Andy Jenkins, who was involved in helping Laura, says her case is not unusual with more than 160 incidents of cuckooing in the Weymouth and Portland area in the last seven years.