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Crimestoppers launches 'scratch and sniff' cannabis campaign
A campaign to get people in Bradford to “scratch and sniff” to spot signs of cannabis cultivation started today as it was revealed that 1,800 cannabis farms were found across West Yorkshire in a two-year period.
Independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers is trying to tackle cannabis cultivation, a growing crime which has seen a 15 per cent increase in cannabis factories in 2011/12 by distributing “scratch and sniff” cards to the public.
It is hoped that the cards, which contain an element that replicates the smell of cannabis in its growing state, will inform people about the signs to spot cannabis farms.
The campaign comes only days after a cannabis factory was found in a mill complex at the bottom of Leeds Road, Bradford.
Up to 543 plants were seized, with a street value of £200,000. Police warn that as a Class B drug, supplying cannabis in the UK can lead to a 14-year prison sentence.
Crimestoppers said that it recognized that drug crimes not only affected individual users but the safety of communities, with around half of criminal groups in the UK being involved in drug trafficking and distribution.
The 1,800 farms were found in 2010/2012 ranking West Yorkshire the highest of all areas with cannabis cultivation properties, with South Yorkshire ranked second with more than 1,600.
The Association of Chief Police Officers’ lead for drugs, Andy Bliss, said: “Closing down cannabis farms and arresting the criminals who run and organise them is a key focus in drugs policing. We recognise that these farms are often run by organised criminals but also because they bring crime and anti-social behaviour into local communities, causing real harm and leaving people feeling unsafe.
“We also know that many people don’t realise that the empty, run- down house or flat on their street with people coming and going late at night may actually be a commercial cannabis farm.”
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 violent crimes involving firearms.”
If you have information about cannabis farms call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.