Police crackdown on local cannabis farms

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Cannabis farm © Merseyside Police

Cannabis farm © Merseyside Police

Merseyside Police today launched a major bid to remove cannabis farms across the region.

A two-week campaign is being set up by the force across Liverpool, Knowsley, Wirral, Sefton and St Helens to tackle drug rates, and will deliver warrants at properties around these areas.

Police shall be assisted by dog units and the most recent technological advances to detect suspected areas, while helicopters will patrol the skies to identify any potential drug plantations.

Landlords and letting agencies will be amongst many companies notified of the two-week crack down, as drug farmers are known for taking advantage of short term tenancy agreements, to enable the growth of the class B substance.

The penalty should a cannabis production facility be found is either a 14-year prison sentence, an unlimited fine or a combination of both.

YouTube: Merseyside Police

Merseyside Police Detective Chief Inspector Steve Richardson said: “”Criminal groups involved in the cultivation of cannabis are usually involved in other serious organised crime and use violence, intimidation and exploitation of vulnerable people to keep their illicit businesses going. We know that disputes over the supply of cannabis have been responsible for violent assaults and even shootings so we are determined to take these farms out of action.

“They will often rent residential and industrial properties in the heart of our communities, so our focus over the next two weeks and beyond will be on those properties being used to grow cannabis around Merseyside.

Cannabis farms

• Strange smells and sounds
• Frequent and varied visitors to a property, often at unusual times
• Gardening equipment being taken into a property, such as plant pots, fertiliser, fans and industrial lighting
• Windows are sealed and covered or the curtains are permanently closed
• Heat from an adjoining property
• Birds gathering on a roof in cold weather
• Individually these activities may seem commonplace, however, together may indicate something more sinister

“During the next fortnight, we will aim to disrupt the activity of criminal gangs who are intent on bringing these highly dangerous farms into our communities.

“Last year our Cannabis Dismantling Team seized more than 25,000 plants from in excess of 330 cannabis farms, so on average our officers are attending around one farm every single day. Each seizure represents money being taken from the pockets of criminals.

“The growing of cannabis brings dangers to neighbouring properties because cannabis farms pose a very serious fire risk. The people who set up these farms often risk their own safety and that of their neighbours to tamper with the electricity meters to steal electricity.

“These groups are only interested in making money, and have no regard for the communities in which they operate. The public can help us stop them from turning houses and flats into potential death traps.”

Anyone who has further information about cannabis farms can call 101 for the police or 0800 555 111 anonymously for Crimestoppers.

About Josh Hodge, JMU Journalism