- Homes across 13 areas will get one of the police-backed cards in the post
- When scratched the scent of growing marijuana is released
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Police issue scratch and sniff CANNABIS cards to help the public spot drugs farms
Cards that release the stench of cannabis when scratched are to be sent to households all over the country to help people sniff out marijuana farms hidden nearby.
Crimestoppers say more must be done to tackle illegal drugs farms, which are up 15 per cent in the past year, so the scented paperwork will be sent in the post to homes across 13 areas.
When scraped the 'scratch and sniff' cards are said to produce the exact smell cannabis plants produce when they are growing, so citizens can call the police if they notice it.
The technique has already been used successfully in Holland where the illegal growing of the drug is rife and a mail-out of more than 30,000 similar cards helped track down hundreds of farms.
It will be piloted in 13 areas of England where the number of marijuana plantations have traditionally been highest.
Andy Bliss, from the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), said: 'Many people don't realise that the empty, run-down house or flat on their street with people coming and going late at night may actually be a commercial cannabis farm.
'It's not just the stereotype of the remote rural set or disused industrial estate unit.
'These farms are often run by organised criminals (and) they bring crime and anti-social behaviour into local communities causing real harm and leaving people feeling unsafe.'
West Yorkshire police area say they have had the largest number of farms in the UK - 1,800 in the past two years.
Neighbours South Yorkshire was second with 1,600 farms, followed by London with 1,200, Greater Manchester with 800 and Humberside with 300, all raided between 2010 and 2012.
Roger Critchell, director of operations at Crimestoppers, said: 'We are distributing scratch and sniff cards because not many people know how to recognise the signs of cannabis cultivation happening in their neighbourhood.
'Many are also not familiar with the established links between this crime and serious organised crime.'
Crimestoppers is asking members of the public to pass on any information about cannabis farms anonymously by telephoning or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org
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