METHODS used to grow cannabis in domestic properties can be of greater concern than the unlawful activity itself.
As Fife Police prepared to launch a new campaign encouraging people to report suspicious activity linked to cannabis farming, Levenmouth’s leading police officer expressed his concern over the hazards of tampering with electricity.
Last week, Fife Council’s Levenmouth area committee chair, Councillor Tom Adams, said there seemed to be a rising number of illegal drug cultivation cases in Levenmouth.
Four incidents were recorded in the latest operational briefing report presented by police Chief Inspector Graeme Kinmond.
Between January 10 and February 6, officers discovered drug operations in Kirkside Court, Leven, Memorial Road, Methil, Ruskin Crescent, Buckhaven, and William Street, East Wemyss.
The drugs were valued respectively at £9000, £3420, £6900 amd £4635, while all the people detained were reported for offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
Noting some of those involved were aged in their late 30s, Cllr Adams wondered if growing the weed was seen as a cheaper option and asked: “Why are they doing it?”
Chief Inspector Kinmond said the equipment needed could be bought easily on line and in some shops, and was not unlawful – the offence was cultivating and growing it.
It could, however, be fairly easy to detect because “it’s a very pungent plant” and the smell often alerted police and public to it.
Police had often found cannabis farms while investigating other matters, or picked up information on them almost by accident, said CI Kinmond.
“It’s more prevalent than it was four or five years ago – but it is illegal,” he said.
“We have done a lot of publicity on this – you will be challenged and you could lose your house, if you live in a Council property.”
Police did a lot of ‘doorstepping’ and worked closely with the Council’s housing team, he added.
Because cannabis was a weed, it grew very easily if kept moist and heated – but people were often using illegal connections to electricity supplies and generating large amounts of heat, which caused substantial risk of fire.
If the meter has been bypassed, it has been made unsafe, said CI Kinmond.
“The public risk posed by this process is of more concern to me, in some respects,“ he added.
Anyone who sees anything suspicious or out of the ordinary is asked to contact Fife Constabulary on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, where all calls are treated anonymously.