- Security TWENTY
- Women in Security
Police are turning to their rural communities for help in fighting crime in some of the most isolated areas of Cumbria. The plea comes after officers discovered five cannabis farms, a number of which were situated in rural locations, between February and March which subsequently led to the seizure of around £1m of cannabis.
Detective Sergeant Jason Robinson said: “Some of the biggest drug seizures we have made this year have been made in very rural locations across Cumbria. The recent discoveries of cannabis have removed £1m of drugs from our streets and have led to 29 arrests.
“We are turning to our rural communities for their help to make sure that this sort of organised set-up isn’t happening on their doorsteps. Farmers and members of rural communities may not think that criminals would choose to use their neighbourhoods to cultivate drugs but the sad fact is, they do.
“The nature of rural communities means that farmers and their families often work very unsocial hours. With lambing season underway, farmers are working all hours so they are the eyes and ears we need to spot any suspicious vehicles or comings and goings.
“Criminals are always on the lookout for opportunities to make money and if you choose to let something that doesn’t seem or feel right to you go unreported; then you could also be making your homes, families and property vulnerable.”
Police are encouraging farmers and members of rural communities to be aware and keep a lookout for tell-tale signs of properties that may be storing or cultivating drugs. Below are a series of questions officers are putting to local people:
• Do you have premises next to you that have recently been taken over by people you don’t know?
• Have you any remote premises near you where you see strange comings and goings – especially at odd times of the day or night?
• Have you seen people taking lighting equipment, insulation or heaters into buildings where you wouldn’t expect to see them?
• Have you seen large quantities of chemicals or substances you wouldn’t expect or normally see in your area?
• Has the activity around the building changed from agricultural to very quiet recently?
• Has a farm, house or dwelling look very different to you? Does it have venting or an extra chimney that wasn’t there before? Or are the curtains always drawn?
DS Robinson continued: “If you find yourself answering ‘yes’ to any of these questions then you may have found a potential cannabis production site. These are fraught with dangers – especially in relation to the re-routing of electricity and the potential for overheating and fire risks.
“I would urge anybody with any suspicions to come forward and contact your local policing team on the new non-emergency telephone number, 101. You can also provide information to police anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
Police have cracked down on organised crime in West Cumbria after a dedicated operations seized cannabis plants and resin with a street value in excess of £1m.
The Government have estimated that organised crime costs the UK between £20 and 40 billion every year
Operation Kibosh ran during February and March 2012 and has been a success in disrupting organised criminality in West Cumbria. During the operation a number of warrants have been executed which has led to significant arrests and the seizure of stolen property and controlled drugs.
In particular the operation has identified and dismantled 5 Cannabis Farms recovering Cannabis Plants and harvested Cannabis with a street value of £800,000. Also significant amongst the seizures of controlled drugs was a seizure of 38 Kilo’s of Cannabis resin with street value of £220,000.
During the operation, 36 search warrants were executed across West Cumbria, including Workington, Seaton, Maryport, Silloth, Wigton Whitehaven, Cleator Moor, and Millom.
A total of 29 people were arrested, for various offences, including possession of drugs, cultivation of cannabis, intent to supply and burglary. Five people have been charged and six received a caution. The rest are currently on bail while police continue with their investigations.
Detective Chief Inspector Capstick, the lead for the operation said: “This operation has provided focus to West Cumbria’s police officers in tackling organised crime in our area. Organised Crime and its effects are felt by the communities we police and protect.
“There is an ever increasing determination by the Police to combat the problems and criminality organised crime brings to our communities. We will continue to identify and tackle criminals who have a detrimental effect on our communities, by bringing drugs into the area, stealing off local residents and leaving those victims to pay the costs.
“This operation as dented a significant hole into the organised crime in West Cumbria and from the seizures that have been made, a high percentage of drugs have been removed from our streets and criminals are being brought to justice.”