With a growing number of rental properties being targeted by gangs of cannabis cultivators looking to house their criminal activities, landlords in Barnsley have decided to join forces to fight against cannabis cultivation.
A number of buy-to-let landlords have signed up to the ‘Cannabis Aware Scheme’, created by police officers in Barnsley, designed to actively prevent tenants from using properties for drug production.
PC Paul Davies, who has set up the scheme in partnership with Barnsley Council, said: “The scheme is designed to prompt landlords into asking questions that may raise concerns and help identify those who are only looking for a property to grow cannabis.
“As well as questions, the scheme asks landlords to commit to checking their properties every eight to ten weeks. A regular check-in ensures that there is not enough time to grow a crop without it being noticed.”
The scheme launched across Barnsley yesterday is expected to see more landlords signing up to the initiative and promoting that they are part of the scheme.
Landlords will be given a sticker to promote in the windows of their properties to act as a deterrent.
Communities are also being urged to continue to report concerns via 101 to help officers take action.
PC Davies added: “We know everyone has different opinion on cannabis and its uses, however, it is a Class B drug and those involved in growing and selling cannabis are often either being exploited or have links to serious organised crime, that has a devastating impact on our communities.
“As part of the scheme we are asking communities to ensure they are being vigilant with the properties on their streets and if you are concerned about a property being used for drug purposes, you call 101.
“It may feel that we do not act upon your call or intelligence straight away, but sometimes time is needed to gather further intelligence or gain a warrant for access.”
Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council is supporting the scheme.
Cllr Jenny Platts, Barnsley Council’s cabinet spokesperson for communities, commented: “We’re pleased to join forces with South Yorkshire Police and support this scheme as we continue to work together to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in the borough to make it a safe place for people to live, work and visit.
“We want landlords to be vigilant in checking their properties to make sure they are not being used for the growth or cultivation of cannabis as some individuals target properties to use them solely for the production of cannabis.
“PC Paul Davies will continue to work with our multi-agency shared accommodation team, focusing specifically on private rented sector housing across the borough as we look to tackle this issue.
“I echo Paul’s comments and urge anyone with concerns about a property being used for drug purposes to call 101.”