Cannabis factories in the Fens targeted by police

PUBLISHED: 13:04 25 September 2006 | UPDATED: 22:15 28 May 2010

POLICE in the Fens are taking part in a national campaign to crack down on those involved in cannabis factories within the county. Codenamed Operation Keymer, the crackdown will take place between Monday September 25 and Thursday October 5. Detective Ch

POLICE in the Fens are taking part in a national campaign to crack down on those involved in cannabis factories within the county.

Codenamed Operation Keymer, the crackdown will take place between Monday September 25 and Thursday October 5.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Fullwood, who is running the operation, said: "The number of cannabis factories operating within the county has risen dramatically during recent years.

"This operation is about demonstrating that police take these offences extremely seriously and are dedicating a lot of time and resources to catch and convict those involved in this activity.

"Although cannabis was declassified it is still very much illegal with a penalty of two years for possession and 14 years for supply.

"Those involved in the cultivation of cannabis in this country are serious and organised criminals, often involved in criminality such as people trafficking, kidnap and murder."

With the increase in cannabis factories across the country offenders have moved into the community and could be living across the road from you.

DCI Fullwood added: "Cannabis factories are usually set up in residential areas, with the houses converted to allow a perfect growing ground for cannabis.

"This means the bypassing of mains electricity, installing ventilation units and sealing up windows.

"What may look like your average house from the outside could in fact be a haven for cannabis production.

"I would urge the public to remain vigilant to activities in their neighbourhood. There are a number of things people should look out for, these include:

* The curtains are constantly closed.

* There is a lot of noise when someone moves into a property but afterwards no-one seems to be living there.

* There is a strange smell.

* Paper or plastic is put outside the windows.

* There is excess heat.

* There is condensation."

Postcards have been sent out to private landlords and letting agents across the county alerting them to the problem and giving them advice on what to look out for and avoid when they are entering tenancy agreements.

DCI Fullwood added: "Landlords and letting agents should be alert about the people they let and suspicious of anyone offering amounts of money above the asking price."

Anyone with information about cannabis factories should contact police on 0845 456 456 4 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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