SUSSEX Police have launched a new initiative to help keep illicit drug production sites out of rented properties, as part of continuing work to protect communities from the effects of drug misuse.
A special on-line and print briefing “Keeping Illegal Drugs Out Of Rental Properties - A Guide For Property Managers” is being distributed to landlords’ organisations throughout the county.
The guide, available at www.sussex.police.uk/media/1778968/landlordsguide-v2-web.pdf was launched at a National Landlords Association (NLA) meeting in Bognor Regis on Wednesday 3 October.
Detective Chief Inspector Ali Eaton said: “Our Guidance is aimed at increasing knowledge and highlighting the signs of drug production for private landlords who may be unaware of the risks and dangers to the community.”
“There has recently been a noticeable increase in local cannabis cultivation especially, and amphetamine illicit drug production, in rented properties, and particularly a move from industrial or commercial sites to smaller residential properties, in Sussex and across the country.
“Our Guidance is aimed at increasing knowledge and highlighting the signs of drug production for private landlords who may be unaware of the risks and dangers to the community.”
David Cox, Senior Policy Officer at the NLA, said; “We welcome Sussex Police’s campaign to help reduce incidences of cannabis factories in the area. These are an on-going problem for landlords and despite carrying out the necessary checks, we regularly hear of cases where landlords’ properties are used for illegal purposes
“To help limit the risk of rented properties being used as cannabis factories, the NLA advises landlords to take full references from their tenants, avoid taking long term rents up-front and regularly check their properties with the tenants permission. Developing links to neighbours can also help as it encourages the community to quickly report any possible problems to the landlord.”
Detective Chief Inspector Ali Eaton added:“Signs to look out for can include covered over windows, no one appearing to live there, comings and goings at odd times, for example to water plants, extractor fans in walls, and finally a distinct sweet herbal smell.”But if local people, often our best sources of intelligence, also see anything else suspicious, we encourage them to call us via 101. You can also call independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”