Bedfordshire Police have shut down two cannabis factories in North Bedfordshire and seized around 100 plants.
The raids carried out in Bolnhurst and Sharnbrook on Wednesday and Thursday this week (13 and 14 January).
Officers carried out a warrant on a property in Foxhedge Way, Sharnbrook, arresting one man on suspicion of drug cultivating and remains in police custody for questioning.
Another raid was carried out at a suspected cannabis factory in Thurleigh Road, Bolnhurst, where three men were arrested and cannabis was seized.
Subsequently three men have been charged with cultivating drug offences, and remanded in custody.
“Drugs underpin much of the violence, exploitation and anti-social behaviour which blights our communities,” said Detective Chief Inspector Louisa Glynn, from the force’s intelligence unit.
Bedfordshire drug users spend 59 million on cannabis each year
Bedfordshire Police say that organised criminal gangs use drugs as their main source of income with cannabis a key part of their “business model.”
Officers said this is because it is relatively cheap to produce and there are thousands of ‘customers’ in Bedfordshire alone to sell to.
Recent research also suggests that around 59 million is spent on cannabis by drug users in the county every year.
“We have noticed a definite pattern emerging where dealing cannabis is a gateway for children to start committing crime. Many of these children we come across are not even in their teens yet,” added DCI Glynn.
“As a force we will continue to target those responsible for this type of criminality. We also rely on our communities supporting us in the fight against organised crime, by submitting information and flagging any suspicious behaviour. Together, we can help keep Bedfordshire safe,” she said.
How to spot a cannabis factory
Police officers targeting drug dealing gangs have issued a list of things to look out for that might point to a cannabis factory in your area:
- A powerful distinctive sweet, sickly aroma
- Frequent visitors throughout the day and night
- Blacked out windows
- Chinks of bright light throughout the night
- Birds gathering on the roof, particularly in cold weather
- In winter, snow melting unusually quickly on the roof
- High levels of condensation on windows
- Noise from fans
- Large amounts of rubbish, including compost bags
- Electricity meter being tampered with/altered and new cabling, sometimes leading to street lighting.
To report a suspected cannabis factory, head to Bedfordshire Police’s online reporting centre or call 101.
You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.