More than 240 large cannabis plants were seized by police at an address in Barnsley, prompting a call to urge residents to spot the signs of properties being used for cannabis cultivation.
Aflred Bezati, 25, was arrested and a warrant executed on 3 March following pro-active work between Barnsley officers and Roads Policing.
Bezati was driving without a licence or insurance and was arrested under the immigration act by PC Casserly following the routine stop of a vehicle on New Street.
PC Casserly also noticed that Bezati had a strong smell of cannabis, however when a roadside drugs test was carried out along with a search of the car, neither returned anything.
Whilst in custody, information led police to believe that Bezati could be involved in the cultivation of cannabis and he was further arrested.
Barnsley officers executed a warrant for a property linked to Bezati on Princess Street.
Inside the property officers found 246 large cannabis plants and evidence of electrics being tampered with inside and outside, including changes in the concreting.
Police Constable Tom Casserly said: “This outcome shows that routine traffic stops are essential and often lead to further criminality being detected. As roads policing officers we continue to work hard to intercept criminals who use our road network.”
The discovery follows PC Paul Davies setting up the ‘Cannabis Grow Aware Scheme’ which is part of on-going work to tackle those who use properties to grow cannabis across Barnsley, by enabling landlords to protect their properties from being used by criminals.
The scheme ensures that landlords carry out checks on their properties every eight to ten weeks, shorter than the length of time that enables plants to be grown and chopped for drug production.
PC Davies said: “Cannabis production in our communities is linked to serious and organised crime. Often vulnerable people are exploited into growing the drug for organised criminals, who use the profit to commit serious and organised crime that harms and increases fear in our communities.”
The dangers are not just the criminal offence itself, as PC Davies explained that tampering with electrics increases the risk of fire not only to that property but adjoining and neighbouring buildings.
He said: “Alongside landlords working with us we are asking that the public also help us. If you suspect a property being used for cannabis cultivation please report it via 101 or anonymously via Crimestoppers.
“The signs to be aware of are a heavy constant smell of cannabis, windows blacked out, excessive condensation on windows, letterbox blocked, heavy use of anti-odour devices, bins not being used and visitors at unusual hours staying for a short period of time.”
Bezati appeared before Sheffield Magistrates’ Court on 4 March charged with production of cannabis. He has been remanded and will appear before Sheffield Crown Court.