Landlords around the region being given advice and guidance around their responsibilities to ensure cannabis is not grown on their premises.
As part of the ‘Force’s Alliance Against Violence’ campaign, a month of action will aim to reduce burglary and robbery linked to cannabis grows.
It is particularly timely given amendments to the Antisocial Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014, which come into force later this month, and give local authorities and police more powers to take action against rogue landlords, tenants and residents.
The act enables authorities to prohibit behaviour or compel landlords or tenants to do something. This could extend to taking rent directly from tenants of private landlords if they do not fulfil their legal responsibilities or even closing the property down. These responsibilities include ensuring their property is not being used for cannabis cultivation.
Consequences of allowing cannabis cultivation include reduction in property values, increased insurance premiums, hostile tenants, and up to 14 years imprisonment and a criminal record.
The month of action will run from the end of September to October 2014, will see enforcement work carried out as well as education and preventative measures.
Det Insp Mike Allen said: “Criminals involved in drug production often use rental properties to distance themselves from illegal activity. As part of our focus on cannabis cultivation we want to equip as many people as possible with the tools to spot this illegal activity and prevent themselves from becoming victims of crime or inadvertently becoming offenders themselves.
“Landlords have a duty to make checks on properties they let or manage. Our leaflet, compiled with our partners, ensures they know some of the signs to look out for to avoid criminals using their property for cannabis cultivation, and shows some of the very real consequences they could face if they allow cannabis to be grown.
“Police will be acting on any intelligence that comes in and we are asking landlords, residents or anyone out and about in their community to look out for the tell tale signs that could point to a cannabis factory. Help us weed out criminal activity. Don’t let it happen on your doorstep.”