Call to report cannabis factories following violent gang robbery
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Detectives have called on communities to report possible cannabis factories in Bedfordshire to avoid violent clashes between rival gangs in their neighbourhoods.
New figures released by us reveal the force uncovered 128 cannabis factories across the county over the past year – one every three days.
Around a quarter of these were only discovered by police following reports of burglaries at these locations, with rival drugs gangs often targeting them to steal the product and disrupt rival criminal operations.
Last week three men were jailed for more than 26 years between them after guns were fired and several people were seen fighting with weapons in Luton in March 2021.
The brawl was sparked after a number of individuals attempted to break into a nearby property which was being used as a cannabis factory.
The force has today (Monday) released new footage from the aftermath of this violent clash in Hallwicks Road to highlight the risks associated with these gang rivalries.
Detective Chief Inspector Dani Bailey, Bedfordshire Police’s drugs lead, said: “Organised criminal gangs across Bedfordshire are making a lot of cash by growing and selling cannabis – and will go to dangerous lengths to keep doing so.
“This incident highlights the significant violence these gangs are capable of. Weapons were fired and one of their vehicles crashed into a resident’s car when the violence spilled out onto the street. It is lucky that no innocent party was injured.
“While this was an extreme example, drugs gangs are targeting their rival operations quite regularly – creating that risk of further violence.
“That’s why we are asking everyone to be vigilant when it comes to suspicious locations. We need you to spot these criminal networks and report them so we can stop these ruthless gangs and the violence they cause.”
There are some key signs to spot a property could be being used as a cannabis factory:
Frequent visitors to a property at unsocial hours throughout the day and night.
Blacked out windows or condensation on the windows, even when it is not cold outside.
Bright lights in rooms throughout the night.
Electricity meters being tampered with/altered and new cabling, sometimes leading to street lighting. High electricity bills could also be an indicator.
A powerful, distinctive, sweet, sickly aroma and noise from fans.
Lots of work or deliveries of equipment to an address, particularly those associated with growing plants indoors without soil such as heaters and lighting.
An excessive amount of plant pots, chemicals, fertilisers and compost.