A new scratch-and-sniff card duplicates the smell of a marijuana growing operation and is designed to help people locate growers and report their neighbors to police.
The card also lists eight signs of an active "cannabis farm" operation, including covered windows, the constant buzz of household ventilation systems and visitors at odd hours. The scratch-and-sniff disc reproduces the smell of live cannabis plants.
The cards are currently limited to distribution in the U.K. Police will hand-distribute and Crimestoppers U.K. will mass-mail them to 13 regions police have identified as "hot spots" of marijuana cultivation, according to Macleans. 210,000 cards will be distributed in a single week, each carrying the Crimestoppers U.K. hotline and web address. The campaign is funded through police agencies and through the organization's regular partners.
A similar campaign was launched in Holland three years ago. In that case, Dutch power company Stedin Netbeheer BV funded the Crimestoppers campaign in an effort to halt $15 million/year losses in unmetered electricity to illegal cannabis farmers.
The full list of 'Eight signs you have a cannabis farm in your neighborhood':
How can you tell if there's a cannabis farm near you?
- Strong, sickly smell given off by cannabis plants.
- Cannabis growing equipment being taken into a house. For example, lighting and ventilation equipment.
- Constantly covered or blocked-off windows. Cannabis factories often have constantly pulled curtains or black-out blinds.
- Unsociable coming and going at all hours. Lots of different people visiting the property might be a clue too.
- Strong and constant lighting day and night.
- High levels of heat and condensation. Cannabis factories often give off heat and the windows stay misted up.
- Constant buzz of ventilation. Listen out for a whirring sound as the growers try to create an ideal climate for the plants to grow.
- Lots of power cables. Gangs dig underground to lay cables that hook up to things like lamp posts so they don't have to pay for the enormous amounts of electricity they use. They can easily bypass a £20,000 utility bill; money that will be pushed back to other honest customers to pay through energy price rises.
Taken from the Crimestoppers U.K. website: www.crimestoppers-uk.org/media-centre/news-releases/2013/cannabis-farms-grow-more-than-just-drugs.