WEST Merica Police has seen close to a 200 per cent rise in cannabis plant seizures over the last year, making it the highest force area in the Midlands for that crime.
From 2013 to 2014, 5,035 plants were confiscated by officers, up 195 per cent on the 1,709 from 2012 to 2013.
Detective Chief Inspector Ally Wright said it showed the force was committed to tackling illegal drug use which had a devastatingly bad impact on local communities.
“It is our priority to protect people from harm and bring offenders to justice and tackling illegal drug use significantly helps us to achieve this,” he said.
Overall, across the UK, 450,000 cannabis plants were seized, many from ‘cannabis farms’ where criminals grow and maintain large quantities of the plant, hiding them in cellars or in attics.
The figures have been obtained by Direct Line For Business which wants to offer advice to landlords whose properties may fall victim to this kind of criminal activity.
The company has compiled a list of tell-tale signs for business owners to look out for which indicate the presence of cannabis plants.
Among them are the silver duct-taping of windows, blacked out windows, humidity inside the property, the fortification of the outside of buildings, sudden fluctuations in electricity bills, powerful lighting being used day and night and, of course, a pungent smell.
Anyone who suspects cannabis is being grown should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Those worried about drug use can get more information at www.talktofrank.com or contact FRANK by calling 0300 123 6600.