Week of drug factory awareness raising targets landlords and letting agents
Main article content
Police officers in Northamptonshire will be raising awareness among landlords and letting agents about the signs of potential cannabis grows during a week of action in November.
In recent months, in a picture mirrored across the country, Northamptonshire has seen an increase in the number of rented properties – both commercial and domestic – 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, from 15-19 November, police officers will be speaking to landlords and letting agents across the county in order 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, said: “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.”
Spotting 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.