One of the latest stories to hit the East Lancashire headlines this week has been the discovery of a “sophisticated” cannabis-growing set-up in a Great Harwood property. This got me thinking about how home-owners can spot a possible drug farm, which in-turn will protect their own property as well their neighbourhood.
The afore mentioned case claimed to be growing the drug for personal use, however many are organised by criminal gangs which can bring further crime into your community. Sometimes these gangs have people working against their will via human trafficking too, with the number of those trafficked for slavery or other exploitation has risen over the last year in the UK.
Although a nationwide problem, did you know that between 2009-2012 more than 5,000 cannabis factories were uncovered across the North West? These contained over 345,000 plants with an estimated street value of £140 million! It’s also estimated that there are around half a million cannabis growers in UK homes! Plus in the space of four years, the number of cannabis farms detected by the police in the UK has increased by more than 150%.
So prevent cannabis farm funding organised crime in your community by looking out for the following signs:
Do you remember the passers-by who reported a pungent ‘herbal’ aroma coming from a Chorley house that led to the discovery of a £89,000 cannabis farm? A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “This was a great result of using community intelligence to find out illegal activity, from members of the community literally following their nose.”
Residential growers need LOTS of light, so look out for foil coverings, constantly blacked out windows and/or curtains that never open.
Farms can be detected by infra-red cameras but as growers tend to use internal tents now, it is becoming a harder job to detect them in this way. However there will still be high levels of heat and condensation, so if you are suddenly beginning to get damp growth and/or your neighbours windows are continually misted up then you could very well be living next door to a drug farm.
Extensive ventilation is needed, so if you hear a low hum starting up each and every morning then you could be living next door to a weed farm.
Growers will need to protect their crop not just from the police but also criminals who make a living by stealing cannabis crops. So look out for out-of-the-ordinary security measures; such as bars on the windows, CCTV cameras, barbed wire, etc.
Commercially grown farms are usually uninhabited, so look out for signs such as never putting the bins out, a neglected garden and unsociable comings and goings.
Landlords should also be aware that if their insurance does not cover for “malicious damage,” they will be unable to claim against cannabis farm damage caused by fraudulent tenants.
If you are suspicious in anyway, then simply give Crimestoppers an anonymous call on 0800 555 111 or you can use their Anonymous Online Form right here.
We hope this has given you some insight into your community, which you can put to good use in the future to protect it against such issues. Need more help? Get in touch on 01254 760660 or email: Darwen@AinsworthLordEstates.com..