Scratch And Sniff Cannabis Cards

Homes across Kent are being sent a cannabis scented scratch and sniff card to help them spot if a cannabis farm has been set up near them.

The cards - launched by Crimestoppers - also feature a list of other things to look out for including windows blocked up, the constant buzz of ventilation and visitors at all times of day and night.

The campaign follows figures from the Association of Chief Police Officers which show a 15% rise in the number of cannabis farms found in homes across the country between 2011 and 2012. Nearly 100 cannabis farms were identified in Kent between 2010 and 2012.

Over the last two years police forces have seized more than one million cannabis plants, with an estimated value of over £200 million. Since Crimestoppers began in 1988, the charity has helped to seize illegal drugs with a street value of over £292 million. Around half of all information that is passed to Crimestoppers every year is about drugs offences so the public are clearly concerned about having drugs in their communities.

Founder and Chairman of Crimestoppers, Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC said: "Cannabis farms grow more than just drugs. Those who are cultivating cannabis tend to be involved in other areas of crime and are often involved in related gang crime and other violent crimes involving firearms.

"These individuals use violence and intimidation to carry out these crimes and endanger the lives of those around them. We want to help put an end to this and the funding that cultivation provides to serious organised crimes like human trafficking and gun crime."

Crimestoppers Director of Operations, Roger Critchell said: "We are distributing "scratch and sniff" cards because not many people know how to recognise the signs of cannabis cultivation happening in their neighbourhood, many are also not familiar with the established links between this crime and serious organised crime.

"Cannabis farms make everyone a victim. Is organised crime running a cannabis farm in your neighbourhood? Give us information anonymously on 0800 555 111 to help play your part in keeping our streets safe."

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