Police officers are this week raising awareness among agents about the signs of potential cannabis grows.
The campaign is being led in Northamptonshire but the police force says the issues are mirrored across the nation where there has been an increase in commercial and domestic properties being used to house cannabis grows.
These grows cause thousands of pounds worth of damage to the properties in which they are housed and can pose a serious risk to the public due to the bypassing of the electrical supply.
As a result, police officers will this week be speaking to agents across Northamptonshire to make them aware of the signs of a cannabis factory being operated in one of their properties and what to do if they suspect one is being grown.
Neighbourhood Policing Sergeant Chris Stevens, says: “Cannabis factories blight local areas and have an impact on the neighbourhood in which they operate in.
“Anything that causes the local community a concern, causes us a concern too, and we want to bring landlords and letting agents on board to help us tackle this issue and make our neighbourhoods nicer places to live.
“Cannabis factories can also cause landlords serious issues too including property damage, ceilings and walls being knocked through, wiring ripped out, floorboards removed, furniture destroyed and water damage. A cannabis farm in the property also increases the risk of fire or explosion.
“This week of action aims to raise awareness among a group of people who are best placed to help us out with this issue of drugs factories, and I hope it increases awareness and leads to more detections as a result.”
The police have advised agents how to spot the signs of a potential cannabis grow:
- Strong, sickly smells different to the smell of cannabis being smoked
- Excessive security
- High levels of condensation
- Lots of visitors - often at unsociable hours
- Lack of snow frost/snow on roofs in times of cold weather
- Bright lights on in the house during the day and night
- Constant buzz of a ventilation system
- Cannabis growing equipment, for example lighting and ventilation equipment.
- Windows constantly covered
- Windows blacked out either using black plastic or heavy fabric
- High levels of heat and condensation in a unit, resulting in peeling paint or mildewed wallboard or carpet. Heavy condensation at the windows may also be seen
- Lots of cables, or electrical wiring being tampered with and bypassed circuitry
- A sudden jump/fall in electricity bills
- Bin bags full of vegetable material being thrown away. The stalks and roots of cannabis plants are discarded when the plants are harvested.