A cuckooing operation at the flat of a “vulnerable” man was shut down following a joint operation between the council and the police.

Harrow Council teamed up with Metropolitan Police officers to tackle increasing reports of crime and anti-social behaviour at a property in Apple Grove Estate, West Harrow.

Several men had moved into the flat and used it as a hub to deal drugs.

Neighbours also reported “a constant smell of drugs, rubbish left in communal areas, people coming and going from the flat at all times of the day and men knocking on their doors asking to borrow foil”.

The men forced the 69-year-old occupant out of his bedroom and made him sleep on the sofa – a practice known as cuckooing.

The flat was served a closure notice by Willesden Magistrates Court, meaning everyone except the rightful occupant had to leave the property.

Cllr Krishna Suresh, who is responsible for crime and community cohesion at Harrow Council, said: “No one should ever be made to feel unsafe in their own home or community.

“The levels of anti-social behaviour here, coupled with concerns for the safety of a vulnerable resident, left us with no alternative but to close this flat through the courts.

“The community in Apple Grove can feel safe again and all residents can be rest assured we don’t take this lightly.

“It beggars belief how these vile individuals thought they could get away with taking advantage of a vulnerable person.

“It’s despicable, and we’ll do the same to anyone carrying out such illegal operations.”

The council explained that Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing will assist cleaning up the flat and look at some more suitable longer term supported accommodation for the occupant.