Police on high after closing 5,000 cannabis factories

Police on high after closing 5,000 cannabis factories

17:04 PM, 5th March 2012, About 12 years ago 6

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Police are on a high after closing 5,000 cannabis factories across the North West in the past three years – and are urging landlords and letting agents to step into the war on drugs.

Police are shutting down an average four cannabis farms a day – with many located in rented homes and commercial properties.

The haul includes around 345,000 plants with an estimated street value of £140 million.

Detectives want landlords and agents to regularly check let properties for criminal activity – and to report their suspicions to a special unit codenamed Operation Broadley across Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Lancashire, Cheshire, North Wales and Cumbria.

Det Supt John Lyons said: “Cannabis is not the harmless drug it is often perceived to be and is the most-used illegal drug in the UK.

“An increasing number of people who grow cannabis are directly funding dangerous, organised criminal gangs. These gangs are often responsible for gun crime, violence and intimidation across the North West.

“We appeal to anyone with any information about cannabis cultivation in their area to make contact during this month of action and beyond.”

Lyons claims stricter border patrols have led to dealers growing cannabis in the UK rather than importing the drug. Police forces across the North West report a massive increase in cannabis growing offences over the past year or so.

The figures were up 16% in Manchester, while more than 1,200 people were arrested during the past three years for growing cannabis in Liverpool and 485 cannabis factories were uncovered in Lancashire last year.

A 22-strong drugs gang farming cannabis in North Wales were jailed for more than 100 years between them at Caernafon Crown Court.

The court heard a police operation involving 17 undercover officers led seizing £400,000 worth of drugs and £50,000 in cash.

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7:03 AM, 6th March 2012, About 12 years ago

Of course all those 5000 "farms" won't have been large commercial operations, many of them will have been personal supply operations, more akin to an "allotment", to provide the grower with much-needed medication. These people tend to have properly installed safe equipment and to be very law abiding in all other respects. They are a completely different kettle of fish to the criminal growers who wreck good houses and steal electricity. These two, very different, types of growing operation do really need to be separated as part of the process to clean up the mess caused by Prohibition.

People will look back on this era of Cannabis prohibition much as we now look back and see how stupid alcohol prohibition was. This is all so damaging to society and every day the damage gets worse and harder to recover from. The effect of Cannabis Prohibition has been to impose the "Al Capone Business Model For Cannabis". This has ensured a plentiful supply of Cannabis, at hugely inflated prices! Moreover the Cannabis supplied is often of an unhealthy nature due to contamination with poisonous "bulking agents" and being harvested whilst still very immature.  .

What we need, instead of a blanket prohibition of Cannabis, is a proper legally regulated supply that will benefit the U.K. economy through huge tax revenues and free up the resources of the police and courts to deal with real crimes. Most of all a properly regulated supply will protect young people, as it is in the area of Age Limits that prohibition has proven such a huge failure. In countries where there is provision for the legal supply of Cannabis to adults the use of Cannabis, and indeed other substances as well, is greatly reduced amongst youngsters. This is because the licensed suppliers know full well that if they are caught supplying to minors they stand to lose their licence, so they just don't do it. Whereas in good old Blighty we have to soldier on with prohibition giving the whole market straight into the hands of dealers who simply want to see your money, they will sell Cannabis to anyone of any age. And that's not all! A few unscrupulous dealers will sometimes say "Oh sorry, I couldn't get any weed this week, this other stuff is all they had, why don't you try some?" and then proceed to offer Heroin.
So, legalise, regulate and tax the supply of Cannabis for a Britain that is happier, less violent and more affluent.

7:24 AM, 6th March 2012, About 12 years ago

Yes it is a harmless drug, I wouldn't be so callous to say its completely harmless but its a lot safer than alcohol and most pharmaceutical drugs.

If cannabis was legal we wouldn't be forced to fund criminals, so technically this failed war on drugs created these criminals and all the harm surrounding it.

The reason cannabis cultivation is on the rise is that this generation doesn't believe the reefer madness propaganda, we know smoking a joint won't lead to shooting your mate in the face, we also have the internet, an unlimited source of unfiltered information. We are saying no to a law that is unacceptable, you take down one grow six more will replace it and this will not stop. Why continue with this failed approach? How many people are you saving?

8:06 AM, 6th March 2012, About 12 years ago

These police are on a power-high, if anything.  Prohibition does not work, for any substance.  It will not work, now or ever.  All the problems police point to about cannabis are caused by prohibition, not the drug itself.  All nations need to end the wars against their own people known as the drug war.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

9:08 AM, 6th March 2012, About 12 years ago

Surely the point here is that criminals are targeting landlords and turning their properties into illegal cannabis factories and causing thousands of pounds of damage? 

Whatever your views on whether cannabis is safe or not, or whether it should be legalised or not, the fact is that it is illegal in the UK.

Landlords need to be extremely vigilant to ensure that their properties are not destroyed by the criminal cannabis growers. I'm sure I have been targeted but I have never been caught out. Proper referencing is the answer to this, we can never be too diligent.NOTE TO LANDLORDSIf you can't get good references for tenants, don't take the risk. Watch out for tenants who offer rent up front, especially if they don't pass a tenant referencing check, and can't provide a guarantor who can pass either, to a sufficient level for you to have the option to secure your position with Rent Guarantee Insurance "RGI"

Mary Latham

12:28 PM, 6th March 2012, About 12 years ago

I agree Mark this is not about cannabis this is about major damage to a landlords property that may not be covered by insurance if the landlord has not done his due dilligence.

The people who view and sign the AST are paid as a front and usually have good refs and credit checks but they will never be seen again.  This is major organised crime and we all need to take care not to be victims.  This is what I tell landlords at my seminars

1. Never take rent up front
2. Tell all prospective tenants that you have nosey, but very nice, neighbours, who keep an eye on things and let you know if there is a problem
3. Advertise the fact that you are a member of a landlords associstion like NLA and that you are accredited if you are because this tell these people that you are a professional landlord and not to target you

Once you are targetted there is very little you can do to check that your tenant is not just a front so this is one of those occassions where prevention is better than cure. 



17:14 PM, 6th March 2012, About 12 years ago

There is a big issue in advising police.
They will not take action unless you have evidence.
How do you obtain the evidence if you cannot acess the property.
I had a situation years ago where I had reports from an associate who managed to access the property and observe scenes of drug paraphanalia.
I informed the police.
They refused to take any action unless I could provide evidence, but if I accessed the property myself I would be arrested!!!!
I even invited them to access the property with their dogs.
They refused.
So I am afraid it is not as easy as you think to get the police to enter your property if you have suspicions of illegal activities taking place in the property.
I also had theft of my personal possessions going on but still the police refused to enter the property.
They were as much use as a chocolate teapot.
I ended up with about £1500 of damages to the property and theft of about £5000 worth of contents from my property.
They even tried to get the range cooker out but it is too big to get out!!.
I think the kitchen extension was built round the cooker so it will be there for life and will have to be cut up to remove it!!!

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