Pubdate: Mon, 12 Nov 2007
Source: Hull Daily Mail (UK)
Copyright: 2007 Northcliffe Newspapers Group Ltd
Bookmark: (Cannabis - United Kingdom)


 From a handful of plants in a garden shed, to major commercial
operations spanning several rooms, police continue to crack down on
people growing cannabis at home.

And as a raid on a house in Hessle at the weekend showed, it is not
just small-time harvests that are being grown.

In the past year, the Mail has regularly been invited on drug busts
across East Yorkshire.

Not only do they provide interesting stories, but they also help the
police spread the message that if people are growing cannabis, they
will be caught.

Often the raids are a result of a tip-off from the local community,
who notice suspicious comings and goings and strange smells.

So why do so many people risk a prison sentence by turning their homes
into cannabis factories?

Although some may be growing the plants for personal use, in the hope
they can cut out dealers and suppliers, many others see the large
profits which can be gained for a relatively small outgoing.

The raid in Hessle showed the more high-end set-up, with separate
rooms for propagation, growing and drying. But other people merely
choose a warm room, cover it in silver foil and buy packets of seeds
over the Internet.

Hydroponics kits, which give heat, light and water to increase growing
power, are now readily available.

Although designed to cultivate exotic plants, the more criminally
minded can easily use hydroponics kits to create the ideal environment
for cannabis. The Mail may be seeing more and more homegrown cannabis
factories but is the demand worth the risk?

The British Crime Survey recently found that the percentage of 16 to
24-year-olds using cannabis has declined from 28 per cent a decade ago
to 21 per cent this year, with its decline accelerating after the
decision to downgrade the drug to Class C in January 2004. The overall
proportion of users aged 16 to 59 has fallen from 10.8 per cent to 8.2
per cent. In 2005, a survey found some police forces were reporting a
six-fold increase in the amount of cannabis seized which had been
grown in people's homes. In that year in the UK, the total amount of
cannabis seized, including home grown, had doubled to 950,000 kilos.
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