0:01 AM, 22nd May 2023, About 6 months ago 1
A new campaign has been launched to raise awareness of rented properties being used by criminal gangs to produce cannabis.
The charity Crimestoppers has launched a campaign after it received more than 14,000 anonymous reports in 2022 about cannabis being illegally grown in their community.
It says that illegal cannabis cultivation can cause thousands of pounds worth of damage to a property.
The campaign follows a recent Property118 investigation into the growing problem facing landlords of criminals setting up a cannabis farm without the landlord’s knowledge – and leave them thousands of pounds out pocket paying for extensive repairs.
Mark Hallas, Crimestoppers’ chief executive, said: “We’re raising awareness of the risk of violence and intimidation that follows when criminal gangs take over properties to grow cannabis and go unchallenged.
“Gangs rent properties in both urban settings and rural parts of the country. Occasionally, some of these buildings – often unwittingly rented to criminals for drug production – can be left completely destroyed.”
He added: “We are encouraging the public, including property contractors and landlords, to keep their eyes open and to report any suspicious signs to our charity 100% anonymously.”
Crimestoppers says landlords should be aware of the signs of cannabis cultivation with rented residential and commercial properties being modified by criminals who barricade windows and doors.
The criminals’ antics also lead to unsafe electricity wiring, plus mould and water damage from hydroponics and irrigation systems.
Crimestoppers also warns landlords they should be wary of tenants who might offer to pay their rent in cash several months in advance.
This is done, the charity says, to discourage letting agents and landlords from calling around or visiting the property.
Other signs that landlords that should look out for include:
A full list of the warning signs can be found here.