Could a dangerous cannabis factory be hiding in your street?
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Hertfordshire Constabulary is launching a campaign to raise awareness and encourage the reporting of suspected cannabis factories located within residential areas.
In June a national operation targeting cannabis cultivation going on within communities, resulted in 27 people being arrested and more than 3,200 cannabis plants being seized.
During 2023 more than 20 large scale cannabis factories have been found and shut down in Hertfordshire, however many more properties are suspected to be hiding these farms in streets across the county.
Cannabis factories can spell danger for the homes and people who live in neighbouring areas, from posing potential fire hazards, to increased crime, violence and anti-social behaviour.
Operational Support Group Sergeant, Steve Tytherleigh, said: “The factories can pose a significant risk to those living close by as the criminals often seek to access free electricity and set up unsafe wiring to power the lamps and fans needed to grow the plants. They will often knock down walls and block off ventilation to prevent the smell escaping, causing damp and structural damage which can affect adjoining properties. There will often be an increase in crime and anti-social behaviour in the immediate vicinity as criminals move into the area.
“Spotting potential factories can be difficult for police as there is often little to indicate a property is being used in this way at first glance. However, if you live close to one you may well start to notice unusual activities, strong smells and odd noises coming from an address.”
Spot the signs of cannabis cultivation:
A powerful distinctive sweet, sickly aroma
Frequent visitors throughout the day and night
Blacked out windows, or vents sealed/blocked to prevent the heat and smell of cannabis from inside the property escaping
Chinks of bright light throughout the night
Birds gathering on the roof, particularly in cold weather
In winter, snow melting unusually quickly on the roof
High levels of condensation on windows
Noise from fans
Large amounts of rubbish, including compost bags
Electricity meter being tampered with/altered and new cabling, sometimes leading to street lighting.
If you suspect an address in your neighbourhood is being used to grow or deal drugs contact Hertfordshire Constabulary via the non-emergency number 101 or report information online.
Alternatively, you can contact the independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their Anonymous Online Form (opens in new window). No personal details are taken, information cannot be traced or recorded and you will never need to go to court.