Effort to sniff out Hampshire cannabis farms launched

Crimestoppers hope the scratch-and-sniff cards will help track down cannabis farms
Crimestoppers hope the scratch-and-sniff cards will help track down cannabis farms
Swansea City Centre. Credit: Wiki Commons (Labelled for reuse)

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SCRATCH-AND-SNIFF cards that smell of marijuana are being sent out by Crimestoppers in a bid to track down cannabis farms.

It is hoped the move will raise awareness of the drug and lead to more people calling the charity’s hotline if they suspect cannabis is being grown in their neighbourhood.

Police say the cards contain no harmful ingredients and give off the sickly sweet smell of cannabis.

Hampshire Constabulary Detective Superintendent Kath Barnes said the cards should help Operation Fortress, a campaign to reduce drug-related violence in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Det Supt Barnes said cannabis had a false image of being harmless and acceptable.

She said: ‘It’s harmful to use and many people including children across the world are exploited in furtherance of the cannabis trade.

‘Through Operation Fortress, we will continue to work with our partners across the two counties to reduce supply, restrict demand and rebuild communities.’

Police say Operation Fortress is not targeting individual growers, but criminal gangs who rent properties and turn them into cannabis factories or farms using slave labour.

Other than the smell, signs that cannabis being grown at private houses include:

- Constantly covered or blocked off windows.

- Visitors at unsociable hours.

- Strong and constant lighting day and night.

In March, two people were jailed for growing hundreds of cannabis plants at a house in Penhale Road, Fratton.

The court heard that the men were growing the drugs for a gang and were ‘virtually slaves’.

Crimestoppers’ phone number for anonymous callers is 0800 555 111.