HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Police To Post Grow House Busts
Pubdate: Fri, 16 Jul 2004
Source: Scarborough Mirror, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004 The Scarborough Mirror
Author: Michele McLean


Police in Scarborough's 42 Division are using their latest marijuana grow 
operation investigation to launch an initiative to inform residents about 
the illegal activity.

A billboard sign was placed in front of the house at 93 Darby Court, near 
Sewells Road and Morningside Avenue, while police cleaned out the marijuana 
and related items.

"We have a sign that we're going to place on the front lawn of any 
marijuana grow house that we investigate in 42 Division to let the 
neighbourhood know what we're doing here," said Supt. Tony Warr at a press 
conference held yesterday in front of the house.

"I've also got auxiliary officers going around from door to door delivering 
pamphlets. They give instructions on what to look for and what the dangers 
are in a marijuana grow house."

42 Division is the first police division in the city to use the signs, he 
said, although other jurisdictions including Peel have started the initiative.

The pamphlet outlines what residents can look for if they suspect a 
marijuana grow house is in their neighbourhood. Signs to look out for 
include the house not appearing to be lived in, items moved in and out of 
the house at odd hours, windows covered and an unusual amount of steam 
coming from the vents.

Warr said there have been more than 60 marijuana grow houses uncovered in 
42 Division so far this year. That's up from last year's total of 42 houses.

"I don't know if there are more grow houses," he said. "I think people are 
becoming more aware of what to look for."

He added unfortunately 42 Division seems to have has its share, and then 
some, of the houses.

"These marijuana grow houses are springing up everywhere," he said. 
"They're springing up in very good neighbourhoods. This is a very nice 
neighbourhood with very expensive homes."

The sign will stay at the house as long as police are investigating the 
scene, Warr said.

He added grow operations pose a dangerous situation, which can lead to 
fires since the operators are bypassing hydro so they don't register as 
extra use on the meter.

"Some of the chemicals used are dangerous," Warr said.

"The heat and the moisture that's required for these operations create 
mould in the houses so they become, not unusable, but need severe 
renovations before they can be lived in again. It's a very serious 
situation and it's totally illegal."

The signs will bring attention to the public, he said. "We want the public 
to know what's going on and where it's going on and what they can do to 
help us to identify other growth houses."

Warr said he couldn't comment on how police discovered the grow house 
operation on Darby Court.

One person has been arrested in the case and Warr said more than 750 plants 
were discovered in the house. "This is something that is affecting our 
neighbourhood and it's something that people should get upset about," Warr 

After the press conference, Det. Srgt. Tom Archibald of 42 Division said if 
police don't identify which house they are investigating, the whole 
neighbourhood is tarnished.

"We can't have that," he said. "Let's stop burying our heads in the sand. 
These things do blow up. They can burn down. There are chemicals in there. 
How dangerous is that for your children who walk around outside. The ground 
itself can be electrified."
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