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Two men arrested after illegal cannabis farm causing power outages discovered

Jan 24, 2022 | Media Partners, The GrowthOp

This post is presented by our media partner The Growth Op
View the original article here.

U.K. industrial unit contained weed farm with 300 plants.

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Police often warn that illegal cannabis grows can spark electrical hazards and prompt power interruptions for the surrounding area, but a large cannabis farm in the U.K. recently transformed that caution into reality.

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An industrial unit housing 300-plus cannabis plants was bypassing the electrical meter and extracting so much power to fuel the illegal enterprise that “the rest of the estate was experiencing power cuts,” reports the Nottinghamshire Police. Police estimate the thieves were dodging tens of thousands of pounds worth of electricity being used to run the farm.

The grow-op was discovered on Jan. 21 following a search led by the police service’s Bassetlaw Reacher team. While carrying out a warrant on the property, officers found both the farm and two people hiding on the property.

  1. “This is yet another great result for Operation Venetic and our work to find those responsible for drug supply across Merseyside continues.” / PHOTO BY JARINO47 / ISTOCK / GETTY IMAGES PLUS

    All in the family: U.K. brothers each sentenced to 11 years for drug offences

  2. A 27-year-old and 23-year-old were later arrested. Police say the investigation remains ongoing. /

    Two men flee the scene of illicit cannabis grow by running across rooftops

  3. Image for representation. Officers found 630 mature marijuana plants and 900 saplings, all of which were seized. /

    U.K. cops find 1,500 cannabis plants in huge grow-op

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Both have been arrested on suspicion of the production of cannabis in connection with the illegal venture, the police report.

“We are extremely pleased to have taken a large amount of cannabis out of circulation and away from our streets,” Sergeant Simon Johnson of the Nottinghamshire Police says in the statement.

“Cannabis production is not harmless and it is certainly not a victimless crime,” Johnson says, adding that “the production of cannabis is also often linked to organized criminality and a range of serious offences, including the exploitation of vulnerable people.”

A study out of the U.K. suggests some illegal migrants, those who are the victims of trafficking and “debt bondage,” have been involved in illegal weed operations.

With regard to electrical hazards, the Greater Manchester Police found a grow-op just last week that officials argued posed a threat to the community because the mains electricity cable had been tampered with to avoid paying for power.

And last August, about 200 homes in Blackpool, U.K. suffered a sudden power outage believed to have been linked to a nearby illicit cannabis grow.

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Stealing power for illicit cannabis operations seems to be growing more common.

Grimsby Live reported last May that police in the U.K. believe some illegal cultivators may be playing dress-up to surreptitiously source power, noting local drug gang members were posing as utility workers to connect to the grid.

But it wasn’t just about fake utility workers. BBC reported last year that growers were also having people dress as road labourers so they could dig up roads and make connections to steal power in plain sight without raising suspicions.

Insurance company Direct Line Group reported in 2019 that it projected that electricity thefts would rise 13 per cent that year.

“In 23 per cent of investigations into the theft of electricity, the police suspected it was stolen for the cultivation or manufacture of illegal drugs,” the insurer noted. “There are expected to be 2,200 cases in 2019 compared to 1,950 in 2018, a rise of 250 cases,” it added.

Throughout the U.K., being handed a fine or prison time is a possibility for individuals convicted of taking, carrying, marking, selling, dealing or sharing drugs, including cannabis. Recreational cannabis remains illegal in the country; medical marijuana is legal, but access and cost issues have been ongoing challenges.

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