Nostrils at the ready, London! Independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers has launched a new campaign to tackle cannabis cultivation – by issuing people with weed-scented scratch ’n’ sniff cards. The cards have gone out to 54,000 homes in the capital in the hope that their recipients will get familiar with the scent (which they call ‘strong and sickly sweet’) and be able to catch a whiff of cannabis farms in operation nearby.
According to a UK National Problem Profile on Commercial Cannabis Cultivation, the UK has seen a 15% increase in cannabis factories in 2011/12 and there are an estimated 1,200 cannabis farms in London alone. Just days ago, officers from the Kilburn, Queens Park and Brondesbury Park Safer Neighbourhoods Team found a cannabis factory on Victoria Road, NW6, which had 163 plants growing in its four specially-converted “growing rooms”.
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 violent crimes involving firearms…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.’
It may be less suave Sherlock Holmes, more budget sniffer dog – and yet another bizarre marketing initiative for issue-based campaigns (remember Croydon Council’s “Chlamydia Valentine’s Day cards”?) – but if your card doesn’t help you bust any hardcore criminal cannabis rings, you can always use it for roach material instead.
Crimestoppers is asking members of the public to pass on any information about cannabis farms anonymously by telephoning 0800 555 111 or via their anonymous online form via crimestoppers-uk.org. Names are not taken, calls and IP addresses are not traced or recorded and people do not have to go to court.