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Police crack down on drug dealers

PUBLISHED: 09:45 21 May 2008 | UPDATED: 11:05 03 July 2010

COMMUNITIES and landlords are being called upon to help spot cannabis factories as part of a police crackdown on East Anglia's drug dealers.

Rented houses across the region are increasingly being stripped bare and used for the mass production of the illegal drug and now police are calling on neighbours and landlords to be vigilant and report suspicious behaviour.

COMMUNITIES and landlords are being called upon to help spot cannabis factories as part of a police crackdown on East Anglia's drug dealers.

Rented houses across the region are increasingly being stripped bare and used for the mass production of the illegal drug and now police are calling on neighbours and landlords to be vigilant and report suspicious behaviour.

The properties involved are often suburban houses, rented specifically for the purpose of setting up a factory. The interiors are stripped out and plants grown in hothouse conditions, crammed into every room of the house, from lofts to cellars and even toilets.

In 2007, Suffolk police recorded 19 crimes of cannabis production where 10 or more plants were confiscated. In 2006, 14 were recorded, up from 13 in 2005.

Nineteen cannabis factories were uncovered by Cambridgeshire police in 2007, a fall from 24 in 2006. Police in Norfolk have uncovered about a dozen houses being used to grow cannabis on a large scale in the last 18 months.

Det Chief Insp David Skevington, from Suffolk police, said: “Nationally there has been an increase in the number of cannabis factories being uncovered by police. Many of the factories are detected after suspicions are raised by members of the local community and we are appealing for everyone's help in cracking down on this illegal practice.

“These premises are a danger not only because the drugs that are grown will then be sold on our streets, but also because the premises themselves can potentially be a hazard. It is often the case that the electricity supply has been tapped into by these criminals, with exposed wiring to bypass the meter.”

Houses being used to grow illegal drugs can sometimes be identified if the windows are covered permanently from the inside or there is a pungent smell.

Other clues include properties where no one lives but people visit at unusual hours or at night, vents protruding through the roof or a window, noise from cooling fans or electrical equipment and shared walls in terraced houses may be wet to the touch.

If you suspect that a property is being used as a cannabis factory, contact Suffolk police on 01473 613500, Norfolk police on 0845 456 4567 or Cambridgeshire police on 0845 4564564.


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