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NEW VIDEO: £2 Million drugs haul goes up in smoke

March 11, 2013, 1:29 pm

CANNABIS with an estimated street value of £2,000,000 has gone up in flames at an incineration plant  the latest haul seized by West Midlands Police’s specialist disposal team which last year stripped almost 20 tonnes of cannabis from drug dealers.

In 2012, the Cannabis Disposal Team cleared 479 ‘farms’ across the West Midlands as part of the force’s commitment to rid the region’s communities of drug dealers and growers  it takes the team’s tally to more than 1,000 since it was formed in 2011.

The latest haul  taken from 30 cannabis factories cracked during December  included 790 plants taken from a converted property in Bilston and 479 plants found inside a Stechford home.

A new video uploaded to West Midlands Police’s YouTube channel shows the drugs being destroyed at an incinerator in Small Heath. Disposal Team Manager Mike Hall, said: “The facility is an energy-from-waste plant…so it means drug growers we’ve intercepted are helping to power Birmingham!

“In all seriousness, though, we know how much upset drug dealing causes in our communities…it attracts an undesirable element, tends to be linked to wider acquisitive crime and is a real concern, especially for families.

“No-one should be expected to live with drug dealing on their doorstep  we’re responding to community concerns, acting on the information they provide, and shutting down more and more drugs production facilities.”

The Disposal Team have become property search experts, notably in cellars and loft spaces where cannabis farms may be concealed, and as Mike explains are called out to scenes amongst the most hazardous police officers encounter.

He added: “Cannabis farms need lots of heat and light energy, plus regular watering, so growers often tamper with power supplies, stealing electricity, and build their own irrigation systems. Dodgy electrics and water is a potentially lethal combination so our team is highly trained to safely dismantle cannabis set-ups.

“We have been called to several fires started as a result of dealers tampering with electricity supplies  so growers cause a very real fire hazard to people and property. And some cannabis factories have been known to be booby trapped!”

The Cannabis Disposal Team model has proved so successful that it’s since been adopted by others forces across the UK, including most recently Merseyside Police.

They work closely with West Midlands Police’s Drug Investigation Team  a specialist arm of CID headed-up by Inspector Tom Chisholm. And he emphasised the key role community intelligence plays in disrupting drug activity.

“We’ve had great success closing drugs factories by acting on information and suspicions provided by members of the public,” he added. “If you have any concerns about a property in your area and believe it could be used for drug supply then please call us on the 101 number and we will take action.

“There are many tell tale signs that a property is being used to grow drugs, from obvious indicators like the distinctive leafy aroma of the drugs, to blacked out windows or curtains always closed, bright lights and a constant low humming noise, to ducting tubes protruding out of windows or under the eaves.

“A property that receives lots of visitors at all hours of the day and night, usually just for short periods of time, can also be an indication it’s being used as a cannabis factory.”

Anyone with information or suspicions about drug supply in their community is urged to call West Midlands Police on the 101 number or alternatively call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Contact Crimestoppers anonymously with information about crime

101 – The police non-emergency number

101 is the number to call when you want to contact your local police in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland – when it’s less urgent than a 999 call.
Find out more information about 101 by following this link.

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