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Help Police To Smoke Out Cannabis Factories

The Cambridge Evening News, 9th September 2006

GRASS on your neighbour if their curtains are always closed - it could be a sign they are running a cannabis factory.

That is the message from Cambridgeshire police who are urging residents to report suspicious and unusual behaviour in their neighbourhoods to help them tackle the production and supply of drugs.

Nine cannabis factories have been raided and closed down across the county since July 2005 including one in Cambridge and two in Huntingdonshire and Fenland.

Detective Inspector Mark Nicholson, from the serious and organised crime department, said: "These illegal factories generate a large amount of money through drugs supply and fuel the drugs economy in Cambridgeshire."

Many of the houses that have been converted into factories have been rented from private landlords.

Postcards are now being sent to landlords and letting agencies across the county alerting them to the problem and offering advice on what to look out for.

Det Insp Nicholson added: "We need the help of the public, landlords and letting agents to help us to identify where these factories maybe in operation.

Those found working in cannabis factories in Cambridgeshire have often been trafficked into the country from places like Vietnam. Working in these factories is not only illegal - leaving those individuals vulnerable to arrest - it is also extremely dangerous. If we can close these factories down early or prevent them from being setup in the first place we can take these drugs off the streets and stop them lining the pockets of criminals."

Cannabis factories can make a whopping £250,000 a year.

Tell-tale signs that could indicate a factory is being set-up, or is already in operation are:

■ 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 up inside the windows.

■ There is excess heat.

■ There is condensation on the windows or even on the exterior of the house.

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