‘Scratch and sniff’ cards to help fight against cannabis farms

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‘Scratch and sniff’ cards designed to help members of the public recognise the smell of cannabis are to be handed out as part of a major crackdown on illegal drug farms.

The cards, which contain an element replicating the smell of cannabis in its growing state, will be used to target hotspots for illicit cultivation in West Yorkshire.

West Yorkshire is ranked highest in the country for the number of cannabis farms found, according to a recent report by the Association of Chief Police Officers. Between 2010 and 2012 1,800 cannabis farms were discovered in the region.

A 2012 review revealed residential buildings are increasingly being used to house cannabis farms, rather than industrial properties.

Police say there has been an increase in property crime, violence and firearm use linked to cannabis farms because of organised gangs infiltrating residential communities.

The scratch and sniff cards, which contain a substance similar to cannabis with the controlled elements removed, are to be put through letterboxes in growing hotspots by the Crimestoppers charity.