Police Raids Show Cannabis-growing to be Rife in Nottingham
Cannabis is the most widely used illegal drug in Britain, and Nottingham is no exception to this rule. Last week, police raided a cannabis farm in Beeston, finding over 130 plants with a street value of £65,000. Only one week before, on 26 January 2011, police discovered one of the largest illicit cannabis growing setups in the UK, its cannabis estimated to be worth over £300,000. In fact, a Freedom of Information request has recently revealed that over 900 cannabis farms have been discovered in the East Midlands within the past year, with a ten-fold increase in Nottinghamshire in particular, increasing from 44 in 2005 to 463 in 2010. The most high-profile cases took place back in August 2008, when police uncovered cannabis plants worth almost £8 million across eight different sites in Nottinghamshire.
Police have ascertained that suburban homes are often the locations of smaller-scale cannabis operations; bedrooms and basements have been converted by tenants into highly technical cannabis growing operations without the knowledge of landlords.
Perhaps the most ‘heart wrenching’ tale of Nottingham’s cannabis-growing culprits is that of Michael Prescott, a father of ten, who in August 2010 was sentenced to almost 3 years imprisonment after growing cannabis the previous winter in an effort to raise money for Christmas presents to satisfy his large family. Unfortunately this pipe dream was shattered two weeks before Christmas, when police arrived with a search warrant.
Issues involving cannabis don’t just affect Nottingham locals but also Nottingham University students. In May 2009 Nottingham Trent student Michael Korn was convicted of running an online cannabis business supplying the equipment necessary to create weed farms. Several Nottingham students have this year found themselves homeless after their hall wardens discovered them smoking the substance on campus. The occasional distant smell of suspiciously scented smoke and student phone contacts named ‘Dealer 1’ and ‘Dealer 2’ make it undoubtedly clear that cannabis is never too far away.