Cannabis cultivation located at property in Bishopstoke
Main article content
We are investigating after we located a large cannabis cultivation at a property in Itchen Avenue, Bishopstoke yesterday afternoon (11 February) following a warrant.
A large number of cannabis plants were located in a number of bedrooms within the property and are in the process of being seized as evidence.
Upon entering the property, officers located a man who had made their way into the loft area and refused to engage with police.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, as well as SSE, were in attendance to support our enquiries.
A 36-year-old man was subsequently arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the production of a Class B drug. He remains in custody at this time.
Chief Inspector, Marcus Cator, said: “This warrant was executed off of the back of intelligence and information submitted to us by the local community, who were concerned about drug-related activity in their area. As a result, we have managed to take action which will hopefully go some way to disrupting local drug-related activity and protect others from drug-related harm.
“However, we are aware that local residents will think, it’s just a bit of cannabis and that this is not a big issue, but we want to stress that any production of drugs is linked to hidden harm. Large scale operations like this are often run by organised crime gangs. Those gangs are likely to engage in very serious violence involving weapons, such as firearms. They may also take advantage of vulnerable people, exploiting them or making them work in servitude.
“The electrical requirement to grow this many plants is also really dangerous and can be a huge fire risk, putting neighbouring properties, and lives in danger.
“It is not just a bit of cannabis, it’s linked to serious criminality. That’s why we are really keen to hear from people who suspect there is cannabis cultivation or drug related activity going on their neighbourhood.
“Every call you make to us is logged and helps us build up an intelligence picture about what might be happening in your community. This allows us to take action and prevent your neighbourhoods from harm.”
Our enquiries are ongoing, but there is no wider risk to the community.
Can you spot the signs of cannabis cultivation?
1. There's a strong, sickly smell. It might sound obvious, but most cannabis grows are discovered by passers-by or keen-nosed residents catching a whiff of the drug's familiar smell.
2. High levels of condensation. Landlords might notice damp on the walls or peeling wallpaper, while from the outside a neighbour might spot condensation on the windows, even when it's not the depths of winter. The condensation may well be due to inside having been turned into a makeshift greenhouse.
3. Constantly covered or blacked out windows. Do they have the curtains drawn all day long? Or have they put black-outs over all the windows? It might make it look like the house is unoccupied, but blacked out windows could well mean inside is really, really bright with all those strong lights.
4. Cannabis growing equipment transported to and from the house. Thousands of pounds worth of equipment is often needed for large-scale grows - have you seen lots of things being delivered to the house, or large items being taken in or out?
5. Constant buzz of ventilation. If you can hear the constant noise of a fan, at all times of the day or night, chances are it could be acting as ventilation for the cannabis grow.
6. Strong, constant lighting day and night. Cannabis needs light to grow, so watch out for homes with bright lighting at all times of the day and night. Lights will often be on a timer switch, coming on in the middle of the night.
7. Lots of power cables and rocketing electricity bills. The lights, dehumidifiers and heaters take a lot of electricity. Growers will often hack into the electricity wires before the meter to that individual house, and so bypass having to pay for the electricity. If you are a landlord who gets a copy of the bill, has it dropped suddenly, or gone up suddenly? If you are a neighbour and your bill has rocketed – maybe your next door neighbour has hacked into your mains and you're paying to grow their drugs?
8. Heat, birds on the roof, and a lack of snow. Cannabis factories produce a lot of heat, which can cause tell-tales signs, especially in winter. When it snows, the roofs of cannabis farms can be obvious as the snow melts, meaning it is probably the only house on the street without a snow-covered roof. Birds also like roosting on a nice warm roof...
9. Unsociable comings and goings. Are there lots of unfamiliar faces turning up at the house at any time of the day and night? It could just be a popular family, but maybe it's something more sinister.