Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Cards to sniff out cannabis farms

Police are handing out 'scratch and sniff' cannabis card to help people detect drug farms

"Scratch and sniff" cannabis cards are being handed out by police to help members of the public detect drug farms.

In 2011/12 the number of cannabis factories rose by 15% and they are increasingly being set up in residential areas.

Hot spots targeted in the Crimestoppers campaign include West and South Yorkshire, London, Greater Manchester and Avon and Somerset.

The cards being handed out contain a chemical that replicates the smell of the plants when they are growing.

Roger Critchell, from Crimestoppers, said: "Not many people know how to recognise the signs of cannabis cultivation which is increasingly happening in their neighbourhood, many are also not familiar with the established links between this crime and serious organised crime."

A report for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) last year found that cannabis farms are increasingly being set up in residential areas.

Andy Bliss from Acpo said: "Closing down cannabis farms and arresting the criminals who run and organise them is a key focus in drugs policing.

"This is because we recognise that these farms are often run by organised criminals but also because they bring crime and anti-social behaviour into local communities causing real harm and leaving people feeling unsafe.

"We also know that many people don't realise that the empty, run down house or flat on their street with people coming and going late at night may actually be a commercial cannabis farm.

"It's not just the stereotype of the remote rural set or disused industrial estate unit. The Crimestoppers campaign will help members of the public to recognise the signs and smell of a cannabis farm."

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