Over the past couple of weeks Cheshire Police have executed 28 warrants aimed at weeding out cannabis growers. Cheshire′s crackdown on cannabis cultivation comes as part of Operation Broadley, the regional cannabis campaign running throughout March.
So far the crackdown, which targets organised crime, is yielding some positive results. Officers in Cheshire have seized hundreds of plants which, if brought into full cannabis production could have generated more than £2 million to fund serious and organised crime activity on the streets in Cheshire.
Chief Inspector Pete Shaw who is overseeing the crackdown said:
"We want to cause as much disruption as possible to those organised crime gangs who see growing cannabis as an easy way to make money. The more farms we can take out of circulation, the more illegal drugs we take off the streets. Organised crime gangs often use violence and intimidation to force those most vulnerable in our society to set up cannabis farms. They put them at risk whilst they reap the profits, which then go towards funding serious and organised crime.
"We take the cultivation and supply of cannabis extremely seriously. Drugs and their associated activity cause misery to our communities. Operation Broadley′s success relies on information from ordinary people. The more information we have, the more warrants we can execute to disrupt and prevent those involved in the cannabis trade from operating on our streets.
In addition to searching homes for cannabis plants, Cheshire Constabulary is working with housing associations, estate agents, rental companies, garden centres and DIY stores to raise awareness of the checks they need to put in place and what they need to look out to ascertain if someone is setting up a cannabis farm.
Chief Inspector Pete Shaw adds:
"We are asking for the cooperation of individuals and businesses to help us to put a stop to illegal cannabis production in Cheshire. There is a strong and distinctive smell to cannabis and farms often have a number of frequent and varied visitors to a property at unusual times.
"If you see any unusual activity such as a new neighbour taking large amounts of fertiliser and lots of plant pots into a property or see industrial type venting tubes, lights or fans being delivered to a property then call us.
"When you are walking to the shops or out with the dog look around you, if you see covered windows day and night and different visitors to the property this may be a cannabis farm operating on your street.
"If you live in a semi-detached house and notice heat from any adjoining property coming through your walls and the property has new tenants, this too could indicate the presence of a cannabis farm. Cannabis farms are a fire risk, growers often bypass normal electrical safeguards to save costs as growing cannabis requires a lot of electricity.
"If you have concerns my advice is pick up the phone now, the more information we have the more we can do to disrupt the supply of cannabis on our streets."
If anyone has concerns relating to cannabis growing in a property in the street, road or community Cheshire Police want to hear from you now. Call Cheshire Police on 101 so that action can be taken or alternatively contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.