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Landlords and letting agents urged to spot the signs of cannabis farming 

Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez and four other PCCs in the South West have joined forces to lobby landlords, letting agents and housing companies in their fight to drive drugs from the region’s streets. 

Landlords and letting agents urged to spot the signs of cannabis farming 

The Commissioners from Devon and Cornwall, Dorset, Avon and Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, have urged letting agents and housing companies to identify and report suspected cannabis farms, as well as writing to national governing bodies involved with landlords and home lettings to raise awareness - asking for greater collaboration to fight cannabis cultivation in communities. 

It forms part of a regional drugs operation involving all five commissioners and their respective police forces, and key partners, which aims to push home the message that the South West is no place for drugs. 

The intensification work, known as Operation Scorpion, is focusing on the supply chain by organised crime groups and associated crime, in particular cannabis cultivation. 

The letter advises how to spot the signs within tenants and a property itself, including: 

  • Asking for complete privacy - requesting no periodic inspections
  • Blacked out windows and frequent visitors throughout the day and night
  • Light source coming from a property even during the night.
  • It also explains how letting agents and housing companies have a legal obligation to report any concerns, what information should be reported and how to file a report.

Commissioner Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: “People in our communities are sick of the sight and smell of cannabis in the streets where they live, and the disruption caused by manufacturing, dealing, and using drugs.  

“Tackling drugs is a priority in my Police and Crime Plan, which is why I have been working with the four other South West Police and Crime Commissioners and our Operation Scorpion partners to end the misery drugs causes to our residents. This latest phase of targeted action has seen more than 1,190 plants with a street value of more than £675,000 taken off the streets of Devon and Cornwall. 

“Residential rental properties are attractive to criminals looking to cultivate cannabis and I am calling on letting agents and landlords to be alert to the signs of illegal activity in tenants and the homes they rent. 

“Information from businesses and members of the public is so important to the police in identifying and shutting down illegal operations and bringing those responsible to justice, so I urge anyone with concerns to get in touch with Crimestoppers anonymously. They don’t need to know anything about you, just what you know. 

“Please help us to send a clear message to those who think they can grow, deal and use cannabis in our neighbourhoods that the South West is no place for drugs.” 

You can find out more about the regional drugs operation here.