Police warning on cannabis factories
PUBLISHED: 11:49 27 July 2006 | UPDATED: 10:34 06 May 2010
HOUSES converted into cannabis factories are becoming an increasing concern for police in Herts. In the last three months officers have executed 20 warrants under the Misuse of Drugs Act at homes across the county. One of the raids was on a property in Go
HOUSES converted into cannabis factories are becoming an increasing concern for police in Herts.
In the last three months officers have executed 20 warrants under the Misuse of Drugs Act at homes across the county.
One of the raids was on a property in Gonville Crescent, Stevenage, earlier this month when more than £54,000 of cannabis plants were discovered growing.
Neighbours had no idea who was living there or what was going on.
A countywide police team, operating under the name Operation Miss, is now looking into the organised crime chain which operates behind such factories.
"The majority of people we have arrested in Hertfordshire have been people who have been brought into the UK from places like Vietnam to set up and cultivate cannabis factories," said Det Chief Insp Jon Chapman who heads Operation Miss.
"This is extremely dangerous work and people trafficking is part of the organised crime activities that those who mastermind this type of crime are involved in."
Now Hertfordshire Constabulary is offering to pay up to £5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of people responsible for organising cannabis factories or involved in trafficking people illegally into the county.
"These factories are not only illegal, generating large amounts of money through drugs supply, they are also a very serious fire hazard," added Mr Chapman.
"The factories are set up by people with very little regard for safety and generate an immense amount of heat which is extremely dangerous. To evade being found out the electricity is usually bypassed and this in itself could cause a significant fire risk and danger to others.
"We need the help of the public, both potential landlords and agents and residents, to help us to identify where these factories may be in existence.
"Landlords and others letting any premises should be vigilant about the people they let to; they should be suspicious about anyone offering amounts of money above the asking price and report any suspicions to the police.
"If we can take these factories out of existence early on or even better prevent them from being set up in the first place we can take these drugs off the streets and stop them from lining the pockets of criminals."
Anyone with information that they think could relate to a cannabis factory is asked to contact police on 0845 33 00 222. Alternatively, ring Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.