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Cannabis factories on rise in Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 01:02 21 May 2008 | UPDATED: 20:26 05 July 2010

IN the battle to crack down on drug-related crime, an increasing number of cannabis factories are being uncovered in Suffolk.

And today police are appealing to locals to watch out for the telltale signs of a factory operating in their community.

IN the battle to crack down on drug-related crime, an increasing number of cannabis factories are being uncovered in Suffolk.

And today police are appealing to locals to watch out for the telltale signs of a factory operating in their community.

In 2007, Suffolk Police recorded 19 crimes of cannabis production where ten or more plants were confiscated. In 2006, 14 were recorded and 13 were recorded in 2005.

Cannabis factories are often suburban houses, rented for the purpose of setting up a factory. The interiors are stripped out and plants are grown under hothouse conditions, crammed into every room of the property, from lofts to cellars and even toilets. On average around 400 plants are discovered in a property.

Detective Chief Inspector David Skevington, said: “Nationally there has been an increase in the number of cannabis factories being uncovered by police. In Suffolk we too are seeing this trend, with more being uncovered each year.

“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.

”I would appeal for anyone who suspects a cannabis factory has been set up in their community to get in touch with us immediately. By working together we can help to crackdown on this illegal and damaging activity.”

The following tips may help people identify a cannabis factory:

The windows of the property are permanently covered from the inside

Visits to the property occur at unusual times of the day or night

People often do not live in the premises and only visit to maintain them

There may be a vent protruding through the roof or a rear window

There may be a pungent smell coming from the premises

There may be noise coming from the equipment, such as cooling fans

A large amount of pots and lights may be moved into the premises when the factory is set up

In terraced houses, shared walls may appear wet to the touch

Large amounts of soil and pots in back gardens

And landlords should also beware, Det. Ch. Insp. Skevington said: “Many of these criminals are renting a property and then turning them into cannabis factories and in the process are causing thousands of pounds of damage. “If you are offered more than the rental price for the property, then it probably is too good to be true.”

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