Residents are being urged to spot the signs of properties being used for cannabis cultivation as officers seize over 240 plants from a Barnsley property.
Pro-active work between Roads Policing and Barnsley officers recently led to the arrest of a 25-year-old man and a warrant being executed in Barnsley Town Centre on Wednesday 3 March.
Roads Policing Officer PC Tom Casserly was on patrol in Barnsley when he requested the driver of a car to stop on New Street.
PC Casserly stopped the driver due to the condition of the vehicle; a routine traffic stop. The driver had a strong smell of cannabis. Due to the smell, a road side drugs test was conducted along with a search of the car. The driver passed the test and nothing was found after searching his car.
PC Casserly still felt that something wasn’t quite right, he said: “The driver had no licence and no insurance so I seized his car, after further checks I could see that he was wanted by immigration so I arrested him under the immigration act.
“While in custody, information led us to believe the man could be involved in the cultivation of cannabis and he was subsequently further arrested.
“Further information led a warrant being issued for a property in Barnsley Town Centre, and local officers took over the investigation.
“This outcome shows that routine traffic stops are essential and often lead to further criminality being detected. As roads policing officers we continue to work hard to intercept criminals who use our road network.”
Following PC Casserley’s work, Barnsley officers executed a warrant at property linked to the driver on Princess Street.
Upon gaining entry to the property officers found 246 large cannabis plants and evidence of electrics being tampered with inside and outside the property, including changes in the concreting and infrastructure outside the property.
As part of the on-going work to tackle those who use properties to grow cannabis across Barnsley, PC Paul Davies set up the ‘Cannabis Grow Aware Scheme’ enabling landlords to protect their properties from being used by criminals.
The scheme ensures that landlords carry out checks on their properties every eight to ten weeks; this frequency ensures there is not enough time for plants to be grown and chopped for drug production.
Cannabis production in our communities is linked to serious and organised crime. Often vulnerable people are exploited into growing the drug for organised criminals, who use the profit to commit serious and organised crime that harms and increases fear in our communities.
PC Paul Davies explains more, he said: “Alongside the criminality associated with cannabis production, there are also associated dangers with the changes offenders make to properties.
“Tampering with electrics increases the risk of fire not only to that property but adjoining and neighbouring buildings.
“Alongside landlords working with us we are asking that the public also help us. If you suspect a property being used for cannabis cultivation please report it via 101 or anonymously via Crimestoppers.
“The signs to be aware of are a heavy constant smell of cannabis, windows blacked out, excessive condensation on windows, letterbox blocked, heavy use of anti-odour devices, bins not being used and visitors at unusual hours staying for a short period of time.
“Further to these signs we now have intelligence to suspect that offenders are pretending to be contractors working outside properties while they make changes to the electrics, as a result of this residents are being urged to keep an eye out for suspicious changes to pavements, with a low quality of workmanship.”
Aflred Bezati, 25, of no fixed abode will appeared before Sheffield Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 4 March charged with production of cannabis, he has been remanded and will appear before Sheffield Crown Court.
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