Bid to sniff out Northamptonshire cannabis farms

'Scratch and sniff' cards are being distributed in the county to help people identify cannabis farms
'Scratch and sniff' cards are being distributed in the county to help people identify cannabis farms

Scratch-and-sniff cards are being distributed to the public to help educate the public about the tell-tale smell of cannabis farms.

The cards, which are being distributed by Northamptonshire Police, contain a chemical element which replicates the smell of cannabis in its growing state.

They are being distributed by Northamptonshire Police, in partnership with Crimestoppers, and other forces nationwide in a bid to tackle cannabis cultivation in the UK, a growing crime which saw a 15 per cent increase in the number of cannabis farms in 2011/12.

In Northamptonshire over 300 cannabis farms were identified between 2010 and 2012.

Founder and chairman of Crimestoppers, Lord Ashcroft said: “Cannabis farms grow more than just drugs. Those who are cultivating cannabis tend to be involved in other areas of crime and are often involved in related gang crime and other violent crimes involving firearms.

“These individuals use violence and intimidation to carry out these crimes and endanger the lives of those around them. We want to help put an end to this and the funding that cultivation provides to serious organised crimes like human trafficking and gun crime.”

The UK National Problem Profile report on Commercial Cannabis Cultivation produced in 2012 identified that commercial or industrial properties are being used less and there has been a significant move towards residential dwellings over multiple sites to grow cannabis plants.

Crimestoppers director of operations, Roger Critchell said: “We are distributing scratch-and-sniff cards because not many people know how to recognise the signs of cannabis cultivation happening in their neighbourhood, many are also not familiar with the established links between this crime and serious organised crime.”

Crimestoppers is asking members of the public to pass on any information about cannabis farms anonymously by telephoning 0800 555 111 or via our anonymous online form via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

Both methods are completely anonymous – names are not taken, calls and IP addresses are not traced or recorded and people do not have to go to court.