North Yorkshire Police are to increase their patrols as part of an operation to clamp down on ‘cannabis farm’ fly-tipping in rural locations.
It comes as a police survey found 10 farmers and landowners reported cannabis waste, including lamps, wiring, air filters, tubs of fertiliser and dead plants, dumped illegally on their land within the last 12 months, leaving local authorities and landowners to foot the clean-up bill.
Tactics will include stopping and checking suspicious vehicles, as well as using CCTV and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology to identify offenders.
PC Gemma Mumby, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “Fly-tipping causes disruption to farmers and rural businesses, blights our countryside, and is hazardous to wildlife and public health.
“Criminals involved in cannabis production see fly-tipping as an easy way to dump their waste, so it is only by working together that we can stop them.
“It is really important that all incidents of fly-tipping are reported to the local authority.
“We work closely with councils, and forensic opportunities in cannabis waste could give us the chance to identify both fly-tippers and drug dealers.”
Hambleton District Council Leader, Councillor Mark Robson, added: “The illegal dumping of cannabis farm and other waste across Hambleton is not only an unsightly blight on the landscape, it costs our council taxpayers tens of thousands of pounds a year.
“We work closely with North Yorkshire Police to provide evidence of farms and individuals, so that hopefully these criminals can be brought to justice.”
Police have urged residents, businesses and landowners to be vigilant and report incidents of fly-tipping to their local council via www.gov.uk/report-flytipping.
Anyone with information about suspected cannabis production should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101 or pass information to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.