22 April 2024

Wiltshire PCC joins fight to tackle cannabis cultivation

Wiltshire PCC Philip Wilkinson – alongside four other Police and Crime Commissioners in the south west – has joined forces to lobby landlords, letting agents and housing companies in their fight to drive drugs from the region’s streets.

The PCCs from Wiltshire, Avon and Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, Dorset and Gloucestershire, have urged letting agents and housing companies to identify and report suspected cannabis farms, as well as writing to national governing bodies involved with landlords and home lettings to raise awareness – asking for greater collaboration to fight cannabis cultivation in communities.

Focused lobbying by the PCCs forms part of a regional drugs operation involving all five Commissioners and their respective police forces, and key partners, which aims to showcase the south west is no place for drugs.

The intensification work, known as Operation Scorpion, focuses on the supply chain by organised crime groups and associated crime, in particular cannabis cultivation.

The letter advises how to spot the signs within tenants and the property itself, including:

  • Asking for complete privacy – requesting no periodic inspections
  • Blacked-out windows and frequent visitors throughout the day and night
  • Light sources coming from the property even during the night.
  • It also explains how letting agents and housing companies have a legal obligation to report any concerns, what information should be reported and how to file a report.

Mr Wilkinson said: “As we have seen recently in Swindon and elsewhere in the County, tackling drug crime and serious violence, requires collaborative working with a whole series of local government and non-government stakeholders and partner.

Under the government’s serious violence duty legislation from early this year, PCCs have been tasked to convene partners to ensure that we tackle collaborate the causes, symptoms and consequences of drug abuse and the drug trade.

“Communities, where drugs are cultivated and dealt, are simply fed up with the misery this type of crime brings to their doorsteps.

“Of course, we are all aware of the detrimental effects, misery, and harm that illegal drugs bring, not only to our wider communities but to those vulnerable individuals within society who are often forced, coerced, or exploited into conducting this illegal activity on the behalf of organised criminals.

“But unless it is happening where you live, day in and day out, you are extremely likely to be unaffected by it.

“Criminals target properties for cultivation, and we are calling on all landlords, letting agents and housing companies to be wise to the types of activity that could be happening in their properties.

“This is why we must tackle the issue of cannabis cultivation head-on, and this collaborative approach between myself and the other PCCs reinforces the message that no matter where you live in the South West, there is no place for drugs.”

Written by
Andy Munns
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Written by Andy Munns