Bedfordshire Police are supporting a national initiative against those who commercially cultivate cannabis in the county.
The force is committed to tackling all illegal drugs and prioritises protecting the public by focusing on enforcement action against drug traffickers and dealers who pose the most threat.
This includes those who have and use firearms, those who use violence, those who sell to children or otherwise involve children in crime and those who also traffic in stolen goods. It also includes those criminals involved in the commercial growing of cannabis where there
are often links to slavery and violent crime.
Detective Superintendent David Cestaro, said: “The commercial cultivation of cannabis
is not only a criminal offence in its own right but it is often associated with bypassing
electricity meters and potentially lethal booby-traps, designed to stop rival criminals stealing their crops. The criminals who profit from the commercial cultivation of cannabis also often use trafficked young people, who are kept as slaves, to grow the cannabis.
“To close down cannabis factories and bring the criminals who profit from them to justice, enabling us to also seize their assets, including property and money, under the Proceeds
of Crime Act, we rely on many sources of information. This includes intelligence gathered
by police helicopters and information from electricity companies but members of the public
also have a very important part to play.
“Keeping an eye out for the signs that a cannabis factory is being run in your area and
alerting the police as soon as possible will both help protect your community from criminals
but also keep your neighbours and relatives safe from potential fire hazards.”
Here are the signs residents should be on the lookout at for:
• A strong smell of cannabis (a pungent and sickly sweet smell)
• Equipment such as lighting, ventilation and chemicals being taken into the house.
• Windows that are constantly covered or blocked out with foil or blackout blinds
• People coming and going at all hours from the property or the property is very quiet
with no sign of the occupants.
• Constant strong light, both day and night, coming through gaps in the blackout blinds.
• Constantly misted up windows as a result of condensation from the heat, light and water used to grow cannabis.
• Continuous buzz of ventilation as growers try to create the ideal conditions for cannabis cultivation.
• Miscellaneous power cables resulting from bypassing the electricity meter.
Detective Superintendent Cestaro continued: “One of the frustrations often expressed by people who provide information on drugs is it doesn’t appear to produce results. This doesn’t mean the information isn’t acted on. I would reassure people that each piece of information is another part of the jigsaw that enables the police to bring to justice the criminals who profit from the commercial cultivation of cannabis, and drug trafficking, rather than just the gardener who has been coerced into working for the criminals who profit.
Gathering the evidence necessary takes time and patience, which can cause frustration for
the public who provide information, but the help of the public is vital in bringing the biggest threats to the community to justice.
“Bedfordshire Police focuses on bringing to justice those who traffic drugs and profit from the commercial cultivation of cannabis but also recognises that individuals who use these drugs, including cannabis, may need help, so the force works in partnership with Bedfordshire and Luton Drug Action Teams to offer young people, who are found in possession of cannabis, an alternative to prosecution; attending a number of sessions with a specialist young people’s drugs worker,” he added.
If you have information on potential commercial cannabis cultivation please contact Bedfordshire Police by phoning 101 or contact Crimestoppers, which is completely
independent of the police, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
For more information on drugs go to http://www.talktofrank.com
If you or a loved one has a problem with cannabis use or any other drug help is available
PLAN B (for young people up to the age of 18) - 01234 344911
CAN (for adults) - 01234 352220