Newly published figures show that 456,911 cannabis plants were seized by nationwide police forces in 2014, the overwhelming majority of which was grown in the UK.
Although the overall number of seizures has dropped by 10% since 2013, with two-thirds of police forces reporting a decline, almost nine in ten of those seizures took place in buy-to-let properties – a staggering 195% increase.
West Yorkshire Police seized 15,327 cannabis plants in 2014, compared with 8,960 the previous year – an increase of 71%.
According the to statistics from landlord insurer Direct Line, West Yorkshire had the fourth largest increase in the country. North Yorkshire saw a decline of 80%, while South Yorkshire had an increase of 14%.
A major cannabis farm was recently discovered in a house in Wakefield city centre, where 2,000 plants were being cultivated. In Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire Police said a cannabis farm they discovered was using the same lights that Leeds Rhino’s use to grow grass at the stadium.
The insurer reiterated its warning to landlords that tenants should be carefully vetted, as cannabis farms can cause serious damage to properties. Not only are the financial costs a problem, but landlords could potentially face legal action.
In addition to carrying out regular inspections and rigorous tenant checks, they advise landlords to be aware of odd smells, sudden fluctuations in energy bills, and evidence of tampering with electrical wires, and to report suspect tenants to the police rather than direct confrontation.