BARNSLEY’S approach to stamping out cannabis production in private rented accommodation could be rolled out across South Yorkshire due to officers’ recent success.
Since the beginning of June, police have taken £700,000 worth of cannabis plants and £105,000 of prepared cannabis off the streets, and made nine arrests.
A report issued to Tuesday’s meeting of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s public accountability board outlined the borough’s novel approach to tackling the cultivation of the Class B drug - which can cost property owners between £5,000 and £10,000 to recover from.
Those landlords are now being asked to sign up to the Cannabis Aware Scheme as police develop a new deterrent in the fight against cannabis production by organised criminals.
Scheme leader PC Paul Davies has been working alongside owners of private properties and Barnsley Council to prompt them to raise concerns over suspect tenants, or those looking for a property to be used to grow cannabis.
According to the report, PC Davies believes checking a property every eight or nine weeks can make it unsuitable for growing cannabis, which takes between eight and 12 weeks.
The aim is to make private properties - which PC Davies identified have a 95 per cent correlation with cannabis cultivation - less enticing to would-be criminals, and also highlight those landlords who are either turning a blind eye to the activity or actively engaging in it.
It would also reduce the amount of hours - typically between 50 and 80 - police put in to investigations around cannabis cultivation.
PC Davies said: “We know everyone has different opinions on cannabis and its uses, however, it is a Class B drug and those involved in growing and selling cannabis are often either being exploited or have links to serious organised crime, that has a devastating impact on our communities.
“It may feel that we do not act upon your call or intelligence straight away, but sometimes time is needed to gather further intelligence or gain a warrant for access.”
Coun Jenny Platts, cabinet spokesperson for communities, said: “We’re pleased to join forces with South Yorkshire Police and support this scheme.
“We want landlords to be vigilant in checking their properties to make sure they are not being used for the growth or cultivation of cannabis as some individuals target properties to use them solely for the production of cannabis.
“PC Paul Davies will continue to work with our multi-agency shared accommodation team, focusing specifically on private rented sector housing across the borough as we look to tackle this issue.”
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Cannabis worth £800,000 seized since June
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