Call for landlords to weed out cannabis farms

Superintendent Angus MacInne, right, and DCI Stephen Healy launch the Weed Them Out campaign. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Superintendent Angus MacInne, right, and DCI Stephen Healy launch the Weed Them Out campaign. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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Landlords across the Lothians have been warned to be on the look-out for cannabis farms after a spike in the number of cases in the region.

Officers have pledged to hold a series of special seminars to tell property owners about the warning signs.

Between April and August this year, 49 cannabis operations worth tens of thousands of pounds have been recovered in Lothian and Borders.

The plants are often seized from rented properties which have been drastically altered or damaged to help growing conditions, and owners are often landed with large repair bills after the cultivations are uncovered.

Recent incidents include the discovery of a cannabis farm with plants with a street value of £64,800 in the loft of the Tiki Tots nursery in Morningside in April.

Police also raided the disused St Kentigern’s church in Viewforth, where they found plants worth £75,500 and related drug paraphernalia. Investigations into both cases are ongoing.

The following month, two people were charged after police seized cannabis worth £165,000 from a home in Haddington.

In a series of Weed Them Out events, officers and detectives will join colleagues from Scottish Power and the Scottish Fire and Rescue service to give tips on how to spot cannabis cultivations.

The seminars will also focus on the risks associated with growing the plants within a residential property.

Superintendent Angus MacInnes said: “Those responsible for growing cannabis do not care what damage they cause to a property, or the risk they put themselves or others in during the cultivation process.

“We are re-launching the Weed Them Out awareness seminars to protect landlords, tenants and the general public from the dangers associated with growing cannabis.

By providing this information, which helps recognise the signs of cannabis cultivations, we aim to restrict organised crime groups from producing these drugs and distributing them on our streets.”

Detective Chief Inspector Stephen Healy added: “Drugs are a scourge on our communities and often fund more serious forms of organised crime.

“Whenever we receive intelligence in relation to cannabis cultivations we will respond to dismantle them and bring those responsible to justice.

“While these seminars will provide vital information on how to prevent properties being used to cultivate cannabis, we also want to send a clear message to organised criminals that we are working alongside our various partner agencies and the public to cease your operations.”

Anyone wishing to report ongoing drug crime in their area can contact Police Scotland on 101.