The rise in illegal cannabis farms being discovered within vacant properties is posing an increased risk to Landlords and Property Managers.
We are seeing vacant properties of all types – commercial, industrial and residential – being used as clandestine headquarters for illegal cannabis farm operations.
It’s something you can’t sit back and ignore.
Illegal Cannabis Farming: The Facts
Earlier this year, a cannabis farm with a value of £1.3m was discovered by Cambridgeshire Police in an abandoned industrial warehouse. Properties of this type are often targeted by organised cannabis farmers. Empty warehouses, business park units and containers are among the prime locations being overrun.
With wide open spaces perfect for setting up shop, away from the public eye for discretion, and often located within noisy surroundings to cover up their activity, empty industrial properties are gold dust for these criminal cultivators.
It isn’t only large warehouses that are on their radars. Empty retail properties are also targets. Last year, Greater Manchester Police located an illegal cannabis farm set up in an empty shop, with a value of £1.5m.
Already proving to be an extremely lucrative business, bolstered by a 23% increase in criminal possession of cannabis from 2019 to 2020 across England and Wales, the motive for these criminals to ramp-up their activity is clear. As demand rises, they’re looking for more vacant properties to boost production.
While it may a seem low risk when you’re faced with a short-term vacancy, it can take as little as 3 months for an illegal farm to start operating and complete a harvest.
How can monitored CCTV protect your vacant property?
Illegal cannabis farms operate successfully because of neglect and the failure to keep tabs on the state of empty property. Wireless monitored CCTV with security response is an excellent method of preventing this activity from occurring on your property.
Wireless CCTV enables your vacant property to remain under watch. With HD video, 24/7 monitoring and a manned security response team. Onboard artificial intelligence enables these systems to automatically filter out non-threatening movement (such as animals) and ensures the monitoring team only dispatch security guards or call the Police when a real threat arises.
In larger properties, such as the abandoned hospital recently used as a cannabis farm, industrial warehouses and even retail buildings, these cameras provide 35 metre range with HD and infrared capability, enabling your property to be fully protected from the threat of criminals moving in.
Even larger sites with multiple vacant buildings, such as industrial parks, can be secured with solar-powered CCTV towers. Equipped with extendable masts, often up to heights of 10 metres, these towers allow for wide scale surveillance and illumination of your vacant site.
Decommission Your Vacant Property To Thwart Cannabis Farmers
It’s a common misconception that illegal cannabis farms are simply comprised of a few plant pots tucked away in an airing cupboard. However, this is simply not the case.
Often with upwards of a thousand plants, these are large and sophisticated set-ups with lights, timers, temperature regulation, heat lamps, air circulation and watering systems. All of which requires substantial electricity and water supplies to keep operating.
Just another reason why vacant properties are so attractive to potential growers. They take advantage of unsuspecting Landlords by hijacking their electricity and water supplies to run operations with low costs and no accountability.
Professional decommissioning of your property cuts off access to these utilities and reduces the risk of illegal cannabis farming as your property is no longer a viable location.
Can Security Guards Help At Short Notice?
Guarding is a great short notice security solution to deter criminal activity from taking place.
If your vacant property is vulnerable and requires an urgent solution, professional and fully licensed security guards are an effective way to stop cannabis farmers in their tracks.
The threat of these illegal farms occurring on your property is rising. With cannabis possession in the UK increasing, the number of farms will inevitably follow. Don’t let your vacant property be next.
By partnering with the right security provider, your site can be fully secured via 24/7 monitored CCTV, and professionally decommissioned to ensure that cannabis farmers don’t have the utilities they need to operate.
Get in touch to speak to a security expert about your unique requirements.