Lincolnshire Police is warning landlords about the growing problem of cannabis farming in rental properties in the county.
In the past 12 months Lincolnshire Police have located approximately 75 cannabis ‘grows’ across the county, a number of these have been found in rental addresses.
These properties tend to be rented through social media websites and adverts in papers rather than through estate agents, this allows criminals to avoid formal referencing checks carried out by agents.
The force says there is obvious concern about the negative effects that the use, supply and production of illegal drugs can have on our communities.
Cannabis grows set up in rental addresses often cause significant damage, including water leaks, modifications to electrics and even holes knocked through walls. Landlords are left to foot the bill for this repair.
Police say it is well known that those involved in the production of drugs seek to distance themselves from their operation.
Landlords are urged to take this opportunity to carry out a check of your address.
Inspector Claire Hime said: “We are asking owners of privately rented accommodation to carry out thorough checks of their properties on a regular basis. Landlords should also carry out official checks on any potential tenants. If anyone notices any suspicious activity they should contact us in the first instance.
“Landlords should carry out regular checks and look out for electrical wires that have been tampered with, blackened out windows and a sudden jump in electricity bills.”
The following advice will help to deter criminals from attempting to rent your property:
* Ask for a form of photo identification of potential applicants.
* Ensure identification has not been altered and is not fake. Make a copy or take a photograph of this identification.
* Watch for telephone accounts in different names.
* Check for water, gas and electricity accounts in different names.
* Require more than one type of identification for joint applications.
* Check prospective tenant’s current address.
* Check prospective tenant’s rental history.
* Obtain any mobile phone numbers of prospective tenants.
* Obtain car registration numbers.
Be aware that many drug criminals use a ‘Front Couple’. These people will appear to be a genuine average respectable couple seeking to rent a property for their own use. After they have been shown around the property by the landlord and take possession of the property they will disappear without trace.
They will then be replaced by members of the drug gang who will then convert the property for drug production or cultivation. Consider re-visiting the property a few weeks later to ensure that the person you rented to is in fact the occupier.
Lincolnshire Police admit are not authorities in tenancy laws. As such, if you have tenants involved in illegal activity, while you should inform the police, do not simply assume you can ‘let the police sort it out’.
You will get the best results from the police by providing any information you can for their criminal investigation.
If you would like to report a non-urgent crime or incident call us on 101