Detectives in Chester are urging landlords to remain cautious following to discovery of a number of cannabis farms in rented properties.
In the past month alone officers have discovered two cannabis farms at rented homes which have caused thousands of pounds worth of damage.
Enquiries in relation to the discoveries are ongoing and officers are doing all that they can to identify the people responsible.
As part of their work officers are urging landlords to be vigilant.
Detective Sergeant Stuart Needham, said: “While cannabis farms are often setup in industrial premises, in recent months we have also started to see an increase in the number of smaller scale farms in rented properties.
“In both of the two most recent cases we have seen, the landlords were offered lucrative contracts where they received six months’ rent upfront in cash.
“While it sounded like a great deal at the time, both landlords have since discovered their properties have been used as cannabis farms, leaving them with a bill for thousands of pounds.
“I would urge anyone who is renting out a property to ensure they conduct the relevant background check, including references and credit checks.
“If you’re not sure what you need to do, it may be worth appointing a letting agent. It’s also a good idea to conduct regular checks at the property to ensure that everything is in order.”
Signs of cannabis cultivation include:
A strong and sickly sweet smell
Equipment to grow cannabis being taken into a house. For example, lighting and ventilation equipment
Constantly covered or blocked-off windows. Cannabis factories often have constantly closed curtains, black-out blinds or foil coverings
People coming and going at all hours or neighbours you never see
Strong and constant lighting day and night
High levels of heat and condensation. Cannabis factories often give off heat and the windows stay misted up
Constant buzz of ventilation. Listen out for a whirring sound as the growers try to create an ideal climate for the plants to grow
Lots of power cables. Gangs dig underground to lay cables that hook up to things like lamp posts so they don′t have to pay for the enormous amounts of electricity they use.
DS Needham added: “I urge anyone who suspects a property is being used to cultivate cannabis to contact us on 101, or visit www.cheshire.police.uk/tua, and we will act on the information that we receive.”
Information can also be reported anonymously, via Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111 or at www.crimestoppers.co.uk .