Local Time

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Police issue scratch and sniff CANNABIS cards to help the public spot drugs farms


  • Homes across 13 areas will get one of the police-backed cards in the post
  • When scratched the scent of growing marijuana is released
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.
Household help: Homes in the UK will receive this card in the post which produces the smell of growing cannabis when scraped
Household help: Homes in the UK will receive this card in the post which produces the smell of growing cannabis when scraped
Science: Experts believe the pilot, which was first tested on 30,000 homes in Holland, will help police track down the illegal plantations, which are up 15 per cent in a year
Science: Experts believe the pilot, which was first tested on 30,000 homes in Holland, will help police track down the illegal plantations, which are up 15 per cent in a year
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.

HOUSEHOLDS WHERE THE 'SCRATCH 'N SNIFF' CARDS WILL GO

Avon & Somerset
Greater Manchester
Hertfordshire
Humberside
Kent
London
Merseyside
Northamptonshire
Nottinghamshire
South Yorkshire
Suffolk
West Midlands
West Yorkshire
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.
Big business: The news scratch and sniff cards will help police find more cannabis farms, like this one hidden in Croydon, south London
Big business: The news scratch and sniff cards will help police find more cannabis farms, like this one hidden in Croydon, south London
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  0800 555 111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org 

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