Figures released today, via an Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) report, reveal that the number of cannabis farms in the UK has more than doubled in the last four years; 7,865 farms detected in 2011/12 compared to the 2007/8 baseline of 3,032.
The most worrying finding for landlords and letting agents, right across the country, is that there has been a shift back to smaller residential or domestic premises; as opposed to large-scale commercial and industrial property.
There has also been an emergence of the “multiple site” model; whereby a large number of people are employed to manage small scale factories across multiple residential areas.
Other key findings reveal:
- Over 1.1 million plants with an estimated street value of £207 million were recovered during the two-year survey period.
- The number of cannabis production offences continues to rise with 16,464 offences projected for 2011/12 up from 14,982 offences recorded in 2010/11.
- Cannabis remains the most commonly used illegal drug in the UK and is the most prevalent drug seized by law enforcement agencies.
- Intelligence suggests the purchase of seeds and equipment from local hydroponics and head shops is on the increase. This may result in an increase in small-scale cultivations feeding social supply
- The top five forces which recorded the highest number of commercial factories were West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, West Midlands, the Metropolitan Police and Avon and SomersetThe Association of Chief Police
ACPO lead on cannabis cultivation Allan Gibson said:
“Commercial cannabis cultivation continues to pose a significant risk to the UK. Increasing numbers of organised crime groups are diverting into this area of criminality but we are determined to continue to disrupt such networks and reduce the harm caused by drugs.”
Areas with most cannabis farms per 100,000 people :
- South Yorkshire = 64
- West Yorkshire = 42
- Avon and Somerset = 40
- Merseyside = 30
- Lancashire = 29
- West Midlands = 25
- Northamptonshire = 24
- Staffordshire = 20
- Cheshire = 19
- Nottinghamshire = 19
With the highest rise in the number of farms since 2009/10 being recorded in Devon and Cornwall, where the number rose 1,664% per cent from 11 to a projected total of 183.
The full ACPO report can be read in full HERE.
Not only could a landlord face prosecution if their property has been used as a cannabis farm, they can also expect at least one of the following to have taken place:
- Ceilings and walls knocked through.
- Floorboards ripped out.
- Severe water damage.
- Furniture destroyed or thrown away.
- Wiring ripped out.
- Electricity meters bypassed.
The warning signs to look out for that your buy-to-let property is being used as a cannabis farm:
- Paranoid behaviour
- Excessive fortification (internal & external)
- Silver ducting tape hanging out of windows.
- Gas cylinders.
- Bin bags filled with vegetation.
- Pungent smell.
- Humidity – condensation on windows, peeling wallpaper, mildewed walls.
- Sudden increases and decreases in electricity bills.
- Electrical wiring tampered with.
- Powerful lights on day and night.
- Blocked out windows.
- Unusual amount of activity when tenants first move in.
- A large number of visitors (day and night).
- Plants, lights and reflective materials.
- Bulbs, soil, fertiliser.
- Bubble bags.
- Self-seal bags.
- Low level hanging equipment.
- Excessive use of deodorisers and air freshener.
- Flasks, beakers, rubber tubing.
At Landlord Referencing we fully understand that this has been the bane of many a landlords life for over a decade now. Coupled with the current housing crisis, tenant migration and new & impending housing/tenant legislation we too can only see this problem getting increasingly worse over the next few years.
That is, if you don’t join Landlord Referencing…
A Credit/ID report can certainly help you to judge your potential tenant on their credit history ; but what it can’t tell you is whether they are planning to use your property as a cannabis farm.
This is where our unique Lifestyle Reference comes in.
Not only is it free but it can also alert you to a cannabis cultivator leaving their last property within 1 hour of their departure!
Find out how it works HERE & protect yourself, your property and your existing tenants from these criminals, absolutely free.
Have you been a victim of a ‘cannabis cultivator’ destroying your property?
Have you been convicted as a ‘cannabis cultivator’ ?
Either way; we would love to hear from you!