About Cannabis farms
Cannabis is a serious issue that the police are trying to fight to stamp out across the UK. Ordinary homes being turned into makeshift cannabis farms as drug dealers grow their own before selling it in the community.
Many drug dealers employ illegal immigrants to ‘farm’ thousands of plants. If possible, they will try to grow cannabis in every room.
For the Cannabis cultivation process, the electricity, gas and water supply are hacked into the mains. This means the drug dealer does not pay for any of the utilities.
How do you know if the empty house in your street, is in fact, a huge cannabis factory?
Police say a “good proportion” of intelligence comes from the community. With help from the community, the police might be able to help clean up our streets.
Information from the public is vital to fight to close down drug factories.
Suspicious activity, telltale signs of a rental property cannabis factory typical are:
Cannabis farm – Strong, pungent smells
Most illegal activity of cannabis growers has been discovered by passers-by or keen-nosed residents catching a whiff of the drug’s familiar smell. A cannabis crop takes about three months to grow, and in the final weeks, the plants stink.
Cannabis factory, when production of cannabis is in full bloom, has a very distinct strong smell of cannabis.
Crimestoppers have previously sent out cannabis farm scratch-and-sniff cards to more than 200,000 homes in the UK to help homeowners tell if they live close to a cannabis farm.
Cannabis farm – Windows painted or curtains permanently closed
Do your neighbours have the curtains drawn all day long? It might make it look like the house is unoccupied, but having windows blocked up, with panelling or sheeting, would suggest there’s something they don’t want you to see.
This could be a sign that there are many cannabis plants inside, soaking up bright artificial light.
Physical Security outside
Growers live in constant fear that their homegrown farms will be discovered by the police, landlords or rival drug dealers.
Suppose there are padlocks on the gates, massive grilles and double and triple locks on the doors. In that case, that should raise suspicion, especially if the street is relatively safe.
On bigger, high-value farms, portcullises, bars on the windows, and even CCTV cameras may be evident.
High levels of condensation
Are the windows always misted up?
From the inside, landlords might notice the dampness on the walls or peeling wallpaper. At the same time, from the outside, a neighbour might spot condensation on the windows, even when it’s not the depths of winter.
The condensation may well be due to the inside having been turned into a makeshift greenhouse. For the best plant growth, cannabis needs an atmosphere similar to a greenhouse, and this can cause a lot of condensation.
Lots of visitors – and at unsociable hours
Frequent and varied visitors to a property, often at unusual times, could mean you have a popular neighbour with a big family.
But if unfamiliar faces turn up next door day and night, it could indicate that there’s something sinister going on. One thing to watch for is lots of new faces coming knocking.
Rocketing electricity bills, the lights, Dehumidifiers, hydroponic systems and heaters take a lot of electricity.
Farms have been discovered, where drug gangs hacked into the neighbouring property electricity supply cables to bypass the electricity meter.
If you are a landlord who gets a copy of the bill, has it dropped or gone up suddenly? If so, your neighbourhood cannabis farm could have tapped into your supply.
You may be paying to power their drug operation. You should contact your supplier and the police immediately.
What happens when it snows?
Cannabis factories produce a lot of heat, which can cause telltale signs, especially in winter.
When it snows, the roofs of cannabis farms can be evident as the snow melts, meaning it is probably the only house on the street without a snow-covered roof.
Bright lights day and night
It’s strange for anyone needing unusually bright lights on 24 hours a day. Cannabis needs light to grow, so watch out for homes with fluorescent lighting at all times of the day and night.
Lamps will often be on a timer switch, coming on in the middle of the night.
The constant buzz of ventilation
If you can hear the constant noise of a fan at all times of the day or night, chances are it could be acting as ventilation for the cannabis grow.
How to Avoid a Cannabis Farm
Be extra cautious when you have a potential tenant who wants to move in quickly, and as an inducement, they may offer to pay 6 or 12 month’s rent in advance.
This is when some landlords see no point in carrying out credit or reference checks and drop their guard.
- If the tenant is too keen to take up the tenancy without really checking the property you are letting, be very cautious.
- Ensure you carry out credit & referencing checks.
- You may wish to request to visit the prospective tenants at their current address if they live in the locality.
- You are required to take ID to see if the tenants have the right rent. Request photographic evidence of their identity.
- Check the documents you are being provided by the tenant to see if they are forged. Any doubt, request advice from the police.
- Do not accept cash for the rent or the deposit.
The West Midland police force seems to be most active in cannabis plant seizure in residential property and finding and closing huge cannabis factories.