We have been shortlisted for Resolve’s national ‘Best Project’ in Anti-Social Behaviour award for our work on Cuckooing and County Lines drug dealing in Oswestry.
We were first alerted to the worrying rise in drug dealing/use around Oswestry in 2016, after which we learned of one of their properties in particular that was suspected to be involved in cuckooing. Cuckooing is where organised crime gangs take over a property with vulnerable tenants using fear and often their addiction to drugs to make the tenants conform and allow drug dealing from the property.
We are committed to ‘building vibrant communities’ and found that the property in Swan Lane and the anti-social behaviour taking place was severely damaging the community. The decision was then taken to form ‘Operation Whistle’ which was a multi-agency partnership between ourselves, West Mercia Police and Shropshire Recovery Partnership to help those with drug addiction treatment and tackle drug dealing and cuckooing.
Housing Officer Sam Pugh and West Mercia Police began carrying out joint visits to neighbours who had been suffering from the effects of the drug dealing for some time. Through these visits they learnt of drug paraphernalia being left outside and the late night, noisy visits from their customers. They then served warning letters to the perpetrators which were all ignored, finally a closure order was obtained and the inhabitants evicted. Shropshire Recovery Partnership offered help to anyone suffering with drug addiction.
We are so proud of the our team at Oswestry for being shortlisted for this national award and helping keep STAR communities vibrant but safe. We are also very grateful for the time and effort of West Mercia Police and the Shropshire Recovery Partnership helping tackle a growing problem around the country.
Our Neighbourhood Manager Martin Whitelegg expressed his pride in being shortlisted for such a prestigious award “I am delighted that STAR housing has been shortlisted for the best project award. This recognises our commitment to work with our partners to deal with the drug problems blighting our communities and the quality of life of our tenants”