GANGS have been banned from entering a flat in Oxford after concerns a person was being 'cuckooed' by drug dealers.

Working with the current resident, Oxford City Council has been granted a 'closure order' for the flat in Ferry Hinksey Road, west Oxford.

The order restricts anyone from entering or attempting to enter the flat except the tenant, police officers, city council officers and agents working on behalf of these organisations.

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It is a crime to break the closure order, and anyone doing so could face up to 51 weeks in jail and/or a fine.

The order was granted by Oxford Magistrates’ Court on Friday, January 18, and lasts for a further two months.

It comes after fears were raised that the tenant was being cuckooed by an organised crime group as part of a 'county lines' drug dealing operation.

This practice involves gangs taking over a vulnerable person’s home and using the property as a base for criminal activity.

Oxford City Council and Thames Valley Police worked closely to secure the order after both organisations received reports of drug taking and other anti-social behaviour taking place at the flat.

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Tom Hayes, the executive board member for a safer environment, said: “Nobody should be controlling and forcing people into doing things against their will, particularly very vulnerable people.

“There are clear crossovers between modern-day slavery and the calculated, horrific exploitation of vulnerable people for storing and moving money and drugs around the city, and Oxford City Council will go on tackling drugs slavery with closure orders such as this one."

The city council believes it had 12 cases of cuckooing in its council homes and secured five closure orders in 2018.