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Officers are investigating after we found two cannabis factories in Southampton in as many days.
The first cannabis factory was discovered at 9.41am on Sunday, 18 July, inside an address in Derby Road.
Approximately 350 cannabis plants including fully grown plants and saplings, four carrier bags containing harvested cannabis and two cans of pepper spray were located inside the address.
It is estimated the plants are worth a total street value of between £50,000 and £150,000 and the harvested cannabis £3030.
A 43-year-old man from Southampton has been arrested on suspicion of cultivating cannabis plants and possession of a weapon for the discharge of a noxious liquid / gas / electrical incapacitation device.
He has been questioned by officers and released under investigation while our enquiries continue.
The second cannabis factory was discovered at 8.05am yesterday morning, Monday, 19 July, inside an address in Alfred Street.
Approximately 90 cannabis plants were located.
Work is ongoing to determine the approximate street values.
A 24-year-old man from Southampton has been arrested on suspicion of cultivating cannabis plants. He has been questioned by officers and released under investigation while our enquiries continue.
Officers are keeping an open mind as to whether these are linked and enquiries are still ongoing.
Chief Inspector Ricky Dhanda said “We know that a lot people think it’s just cannabis and no big deal. We have also heard people say if it were legalised, all these problems we talk about would go away. It is not for us to get into debate about the law, and while the production and supply of cannabis is illegal, people are victims of serious harm, and people suffer – which is something that we cannot ignore. It is vital we take action in order to reduce drug related harm and the associated crime to help keep our communities safe.
“The production of drugs is linked to hidden harm and large scale operations like these are often run by organised crime groups. Those groups 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 money made by these groups is reinvested into other crimes, weapons, and firearms that blight our communities and cause serious harm – so the seizures we make are important. The true cost of just recreational drug use can be incredibly damaging to someone else’s community, someone else’s life.
“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 also linked to anti-social behaviour, like drug-related activity in your neighbourhood, which can cause misery to local communities.
“For these reasons, it’s not just cannabis, it’s linked to serious criminality and serious harm which we are not going to ignore.”
Part of our ongoing work to tackle this is to also remind landlords of occupied and unoccupied properties to make sure you know what is going on inside your rental properties. Criminals will do what they can to avoid being caught, so they try not to use their own houses to grow, store or even deal drugs from. They can reduce the risk of getting caught by using a rental property instead.
Landlords can face serious repercussions if their tenant is using a rental property as a cannabis factory. They could face prosecution, a jail sentence, or even have their property seized.
Landlords often suffer property damage too, including ceilings and walls knocked through, wiring ripped out, floorboards removed, furniture destroyed and water damage. A cannabis factory in the property also significantly increases the risk of fire or explosion.
Making regular visits to the property throughout the tenancy is generally best practice, but not always guaranteed to deter. Here’s a few tips on some of the things you can do to avoid people using your property to carry out criminal activity:
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.
People can contact us on 101 or online at https://www.hampshire.police.uk/ro/report/.
Alternatively you can report to Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at https://crimestoppers-uk.org/.
Can you spot the signs of cannabis cultivation?