Police forces across the country are staging their latest crackdown on cannabis farms amid warnings that the factories are a key factor in the growth of modern-day slavery.
Among the forces taking part is West Yorkshire Police, which is developing an education programme on the multi-million pound crime for local councils.
Officers from Yorkshire’s largest police force are also working with landlords to put out information on commercial cannabis growth and releasing a newly-commissioned YouTube video on the subject.
Information is being gathered to try to measure the scale of the illegal industry, which authorities claim produces increasingly potent forms of the drug in farms that can be staffed using forced labour.
A national police awareness scheme, running this week, follows a campaign earlier this year where “scratch and sniff” cards emulating the smell of growing cannabis were handed out to members of the public by 17 forces, in a Crimestoppers scheme.
The charity said that the number of reports about cannabis farms rose by a third in those forces for the month following the campaign, and by 20 per cent nationally.