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Police guidance about tenants and drugs

The police have issued a 16-point guide for landlords to identify and guard against their properties being used as cannabis farms.

This follows the jailing of a man for the  production of a Class B drug.

Following reports that a cannabis factory had been set up inside a residential property in Northamptonshire the police executed a warrant in April.


As members of the policing team entered the front of the address, the sole occupant of the house ran from the rear of the house into the path of the awaiting officers and was arrested.

A total of 60 cannabis plants in various stages of growth and worth up £75,000 were found in four of the rooms and loft area along with the associated equipment required to produce the Class B drug.

The man pleaded guilty to the single charge, and he was sentenced to 45-months in prison and ordered to pay a £187 surcharge.

The court also ordered for the drugs and paraphernalia to be destroyed along with a forfeiture order for £200 - seized from at the time of his arrest - to be redirected to a fund which support Northamptonshire charities. 

A police spokesperson says: “Cannabis factories can blight an area, and no one should feel miserable about where they live and having a factory of this nature in your local area really brings down a neighbourhood so, I hope this provides reassurance that we will act on information provided.

“Landlords should also be aware cannabis factories cause thousands of pounds worth of damage to a property and the impact on them financially is huge as they will bear the cost of the clean-up and repair.

“I would also encourage both members of the public and landlords to take a look at the signs below and let us know of anything suspicious which may indicate a cannabis factory is being set up or in operation, so we can take it down and prosecute those responsible for setting it up.”


- Curtains and windows closed and drawn, even in hot weather;

- Strange comings and goings from the address with vehicles attending very late at night;

- Smells coming from the address that could indicate cannabis is being grown;

- Light coming from roof spaces or leaking through the building in odd places;

- Sounds of fans constantly running in the address;

- Cables running to and from lampposts nearby;

- Rubbish bags full of garden related waste;

- Occupants and visitors who are rarely seen, except at odd hours of the day;

- Condensation on the windows;

- Copious amounts of fertiliser being taken to the address at odd times.

Advice to landlords:

- Be mindful of the need to conduct regular inspections of the properties you are letting out;

- Be sure you are happy with the identity of the tenants before you let out the address and confirm they are the people living there and not sub-letting.

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  • icon

    Police action you'll be lucky they don't want the bother with it all, been there got the tee shirt

  • Rob NorthWest-Landlord

    I thought he was just a keen horticulturist!!

  • icon

    Whenever I bought a new rental (in the past obviously) I always made a point of giving contact details to neighbours. Initially the property would be empty during renovations / doing viewings etc so good to have someone keeping an eye on it, but I'd like to think they would notice anything illegal going on. Also useful if there's an issue with the outside of the property, fences, hedges etc.
    I guess the problem comes if you have a property in an area where neighbours don't care what's going on.


    The elderly neighbours at our rental just thought our tenant was a really nice lad. They had no idea he had a cannabis farm in the loft. He could have killed them when it caused a fire that melted the front off the gas boiler in the loft and caused smoke damage to their boiler next door in their loft.

  • icon

    That police guidance is as useful as the police were when our drug dealing tenant caused £65k of damage in February. Also in Northamptonshire. They told me they had all they needed from the property and I could clear it…I found his passport, driving licence, car log book etc (they’d said they couldn’t locate a vehicle for him).
    My advice would be to inspect every 10 weeks (grow time is 12 weeks so must be more often than that). Don’t rely on agent checks and references…our guy was fully verified. Red flags for tenants are: single males/no employer references possible/offers to pay 6-12 months in advance/installation of excessive security measures (ours had ring doorbell, cctv and security lights on a 2 bed bungalow)/Albanian or Greek seem higher risk. These are from other police force data.

    But mainly CHECK YOUR INSURANCE POLICY. I was unaware that our fab policy excluded damages caused by illegal activity. Insurers know this is the fastest growing crime/risk in the residential rental sector and they are avoiding paying out with these exclusions.
    We’ve been left with £65k+ bill. No arrest. 6 months lost rental. And zero help from insurance, police or letting agents

  • icon

    The police are no longer ‘policing’ period!


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