“Vulnerable” Sutton residents' homes have been taken over by people from which to deal drugs - and it’s a crime authorities are becoming “increasingly aware of”.

Called “cuckooing”, cases have emerged in the borough where drug dealers have converted a person’s home into a base.

A Sutton Council committee heard about two particular incidents while discussing the safeguarding adult board’s (SAB) annual report.

It’s been made a priority to raise awareness of cuckooing as it’s “becoming more widespread” among adults with learning disabilities, mental health problems, and also the elderly.

Patrick Hopkinson, the council’s service manager for adult safeguarding, clinical health, and occupational therapy, said: “We’ve had a couple of examples over the past few years where someone’s home has been taken over by people who deal drugs, and used it as a place from which they would deal drugs.

“Our interventions in those so far have been effective.

“In one, we worked particularly closely with the organisation responsible for the property and with the police to evict the people taking it over and get the person their property back again.

“In another example, we had to actually take the person out of there while we were sorting it out – again with the police and housing – and getting the people who took it over out.”

While Mr Hopkinson believes there are not regular occurrences, it’s something authorities are “increasingly aware of”.

The SAB report highlighted achievements from the past year while setting out targets for the next one.

Among next year’s objectives were to raise awareness of modern slavery, human trafficking, and cuckooing.

In the second strategic objective, it reads: “Human trafficking is one of the priorities of the London SAB who have funded train the trainer training for London SABs.

“Referrals to the national referral mechanism in Sutton are comparatively low compared to neighbouring Croydon and other London boroughs.”

The people committee meeting was held on September 27.