Detection of cannabis farms aided by public

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The head of policing in Chorley has praised residents for their help in uncovering cannabis farms.

Insp Dave Robinson, from Chorley neighbourhood policing team, believes information from people living in the borough is vital in discovering the plants.

He said: “We have an emphasis on gathering community intelligence.

“The local community will know comings and goings and may be aware of interference with the electricity supply perhaps.

“A lot of our cases have come directly from people passing intelligence to us.”

New figures obtained by the Chorley Guardian using the Freedom of Information Act show police identified 45 instances of cannabis cultivation in Chorley between 2011 and 2013.

In 2011, 221 plants were found in 17 locations; in 2012, 496 plants were found in 14 locations; and in 2013, 164 plants were found in 14 locations.

However, the large number of plants found in 2012 was due to the discovery of two bigger cannabis farms.

A total of 245 plants were found at a property on Long Lane, Heath Charnock, and 130 plants were seized from Stratford Road, Chorley.

Insp Robinson said: “The number of cannabis cultivation centres now found remains fairly consistent.

“Very rarely do we find anything on the scale of anything we found in Heath Charnock.”

The largest cannabis farm found in 2013 was on Moor Road, Chorley, with 36 plants.

The majority of the cannabis farms found in the borough have less than 20 plants.

Insp Robinson said: “The vast majority are not very sophisticated at all.”

But he warned that growing cannabis, no matter how many plants, is still a crime.

Insp Robinson said: “Growing cannabis can have quite serious consequences. It can lead to a caution or being taken to court.

“That can have an effect on employment and, particularly if they are renting, they can find themselves evicted.”

Anyone with information about the cultivation of cannabis is asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.