Drug dealers are recruiting vulnerable people to transport cash and drugs, according to charity Crimestoppers.
The organisation has launched a campaign in Aberdeen to raise awareness of a criminal enterprise known as County Lines.
It sees criminals from major cities such as Liverpool, Manchester, London and Birmingham expand their drug networks to Scotland, bringing with it violence, exploitation and abuse.
Angela Parker, national manager for Crimestoppers, said: “County Lines isn’t necessarily a term people are familiar with, but it’s important we raise awareness of this issue and tackle it.
Gangs coming into Aberdeen are not welcome, and we want to ensure that if they do decide to set up their operation here, that with your help and information, we can remove them from our communities.”
The group said vulnerable adults are being recruited in the Granite City to transport cash and drugs all over the country, so the criminals behind it are less likely to be detected.
A Crimestoppers spokesman added: “They often set up a base in a rural area for a short time, taking over the home of a vulnerable person and use adults to act as drug runners.
“Law enforcement has made significant arrests of individuals from the North-west (of England) who are both orchestrating this activity and who have travelled to areas such as Aberdeen.”
Detective Inspector Allen Shaw said the force was “committed to targeting ‘cuckooing’ drug dealers”, who target members of the community by taking over their homes to store or deal drugs.
He added: “We are working with partner agencies in an effort to identify and support those who are susceptible to being manipulated by these individuals who are solely driven by financial gain and do not care about the misery and harm they cause in communities.”
Crimestoppers appealed for those with information to contact them anonymously on 0800 555 111 or at Crimestoppers-uk.org