Police are targeting the cannabis community because of the well-established link with other serious offences such as burglary, theft and vehicle crime. Offenders often commit these crimes to finance a drug habit by exchanging stolen goods for cannabis or selling stolen goods for cash to buy drugs.
Dover District Commander, Chief Inspector Steve Barlow, said: "Police in Dover have been successful in detecting cannabis production and bringing offenders to justice."
"However, we want to ramp up our efforts to ensure that residents and visitors alike feel safe and reassured that we are doing everything we can to reduce crime and help maintain a good quality of life.
"So we're asking people to be our eyes and ears, and actively report suspicious people or behaviour. Help us to help you.
"People can contact us anonymously via Crimestoppers so there's no reason to fear taking the important step of picking up the phone."
Police are also warning landlords and letting agents that they face prosecution if cannabis is grown in buildings they own or manage. Property values could also be reduced, while cannabis farms pose serious fire risks because of the way electricity is used to bypass normal supplies.
Gangs don't want to draw attention to the premises they use as cannabis factories. However, there are signs that there is cannabis cultivation in your area:
- Strong, distinctive, sickly sweet smell
- Lights on all night
- People coming and going at strange times of the day/night
- Large amounts of fertiliser being delivered to addresses
- Lighting and other electrical equipment being delivered
- Lots of plant pots delivered at the property or seen in waste bins
- Tubes and vents seen protruding out of roofs/walls
Anyone who suspects cannabis is being grown in their area is asked to call Constable Matthew Hawkes on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.