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Weeding Out the Drug Gangs

Tuesday, 23rd September, 2014

In the last few years, cannabis cultivation in the UK has begun to move away from large industrial units and into networks of residential properties.

Criminal gangs use residential properties such as flats or suburban houses as cover for their illegal activities. In a recent interview, Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker told UK Landlord that criminals "see this as spreading the risk in case one of their farms is discovered." He believes that these gangs "may also prefer to use privately rented properties over social housing, because there could be a perception that these landlords are less stringent in their vetting of tenants than social landlords and conduct fewer checks during the tenancy. That's why it's very important that all landlords thoroughly check potential tenants and visit their property regularly."

Cannabis cultivation can cause huge damage to property which may not be covered by insurance, and can result in loss of rent whilst properties are repaired and tenants are evicted. Holes may be cut into walls and ceilings to make way for wires and tubing, internal walls may be removed, putting the property at risk of collapsing, and floors could be sodden with water and liable to give way under foot. Growing equipment and excessive energy supplies used to manufacture the drugs can also increase the chance of fire.

How to spot cannabis farming in you rental property:

Strong and sickly sweet smell, which is different to the smell of cannabis being smoked.
Cannabis growing equipment, including the noise of ventilation or large ducting tubes in the window.
Constantly covered or blocked off windows.
Visitors at unsociable hours.
Strong and constant lighting, day and night.
High levels of heat and condensation, resulting in peeling paint and mildewed wall-boards or carpets.
Lots of cables.
A sudden jump/fall in electricity bills.
Bin bags full of vegetable material being thrown away (the discarded stocks and leaves of the cannabis plant).


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