how to report cannabis growing

• Another tell-tale sign is when people move in and very soon after there is considerable building work taking place inside the property.

Drugs are a problem which can lurk closer than you probably think. But it is possible for you to do your bit to stamp it out – all you need to know is what to look for. DSI Steve Benson Davison from South Wales Police has some helpful tips on how to tell if your neighbour is growing drugs:

• Neighbours should keep an eye for industrial looking equipment going into the house.

• Look for signs of big external fans being fitted or the electrical supply to the house being tampered with.

• Landlords should also be suspicious if the tenant wants to meet in a different place other than the house to pay rent or discuss the property.

• Neighbours – you are the key. You should be suspicious if people are coming and going from the premises often and only staying for short amounts of time.

• You should also look for blacked out windows and there may also be considerable heat coming from the premises.

• The growing farms for drugs are referred to as ‘factories’. The way in which the drugs are grown can vary from single plants in houses to a large scale cannabis production. The most common type of factory is found in residential houses. Walls are often knocked down so you are left with an empty shell that has been turned into a giant enclosed green house.

• Landlords – be aware that the individual paying the rent will usually want to pay cash up front and will try to encourage no visiting from the landlord. It’s a good idea for landlords to visit their properties and keep an eye out for tell-tale signs, like a strong smell coming from the premises or windows being blacked out.

• It’s about recognising and realising that something is just not right with the property.

It may sound obvious, but most cannabis grows are 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. Crimestoppers has previously sent out cannabis-farm scratch-and-sniff cards to homes in the UK to help home-owners tell if they live close to a budding farm.

It’s a serious issue that police are fighting to stamp out across the North East – ordinary homes being turned into makeshift cannabis farms as drug dealers grow their own before selling it in the community.

Growers live in constant fear that their home grown farms will be discovered by police, landlords or rival drug dealers. If there are padlocks on the gates, massive grilles and double and triple locks on the doors, that should raise eyebrows – especially if the street is relatively safe. On bigger, high value farms, portcullises, bars on the windows and even CCTV cameras can be evident.

Are the windows always misted up? From the inside, landlords might notice damp on the walls or peeling wallpaper, while 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 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.

If you suspect there is a drug farm next door, you should always phone the police on 101, and not take your own action.

Windows are constantly covered.

Check crime levels in your area by postcode:

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 budding plants inside soaking up bright artificial light.

Many then employ illegal immigrants to ‘farm’ the thousands of plants they grow in every room, often after they have hacked the electricity supply at the mains – so they don’t even end up paying for the heat and light.

But how do you know if the house in your street that no one seems to live in is, in fact, a cannabis factory?

Police say a “good proportion” of intelligence comes from the community, and with our helpful guide, you might be able to help clean up your streets by providing information that could lead to arrests.

Here are the top signs to look out for.

Frequent and varied visitors to a property, often at unusual times, could mean you just have a popular neighbour with a big family. But if unfamiliar faces are turning up next door day and night, it might be a sign that there’s something more sinister going on. One thing to watch for is lots of new faces coming knocking.

Read More.

High levels of condensation.

Cannabis farms are very dangerous places and pose a serious risk of fire. Often the electricity meter has been bypassed and seriously overloaded electrical circuits run close to water-filled pipes. Plants grown upstairs in a building can also cause floorboards to rot, presenting the danger of collapse.

Criminals are using more inventive ways to conceal cannabis grows – not just in rooms, but in the back of shops and even underground.

In addition it is also important to consider that sometimes the people working in the ‘farms’ are victims of human trafficking and working against their will.

Every cannabis farm we destroy helps prevent a vicious circle. The plants won’t end up as street deals, the profits won’t go on to fund other crime, and they won’t ruin lives or pollute our communities.