Landlords are being urged by police to look out for tell tale signs of cannabis being grown on their property.
As part of their new cannabis cultivation awareness campaign, Derbyshire Constabulary are keen for landlords to be aware of the damage that can be caused by houses being turned into cannabis farms. Electricity supplies are tampered with, walls are damaged and unsafe high energy lighting is often brought into properties by criminals to help them grow the drug.
Determined to crack down on the problem, the police have released a list of common indicators of cannabis production:
- A strong and sickly sweet smell that may be covered up with creosote or paint;
- Cannabis growing equipment such as lights, fertiliser and cables being moved into or out of a property;
- Constantly covered or blocked off windows at the front and rear of a property;
- Visitors at unsociable hours and few sightings of the occupants of the house;
- Strong and constant lighting throughout the day and night;
- High levels of heat and condensation, visible on the windows;
- The constant buzz of ventilation.
If you have seen signs like this you are urged to contact police immediately. They are also keen to remind people that once they rent out a property they must carry out adequate checks for drug production or they could face charges under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
Steve Holme, a drugs expert from Derbyshire Police, said: “Criminals often set up these large cannabis farms in rented houses or flats and the damage they cause is absolutely shocking.
“In a short space of time they can tear the furniture out, gut the whole place and have cannabis plants growing in every single room.
“They mess with the power supply, smash walls down to make more space, leave the garden and exterior of the property to degrade and generally make the house unliveable. What many landlords don’t realise is that, if their residential property is used for this criminal activity, they might not be able to claim for any damage on their insurance, which leaves them with a massive bill once the farm has been discovered.”
Anyone who believes that their tenant or a house in their neighbourhood is being used as a cannabis farm, is aksed to speak to an officer confidentially by calling Derbyshire police on 101. You can also call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.