From Keighley News, December 21st, 2017
Written by Miran Rahman
POLICE located and destroyed five cannabis farms each cultivating 25 plants or more in Keighley in the last 12 months. This figure, revealed by West Yorkshire Police following a Freedom of Information request, compared with three cannabis farms comprising 25 plants or more in Keighley over the previous year. Police operations against this crime from November 2016 until November 2017 included one case in which 54 plants were seized at an address in the town, a separate incident involving "at least 50 plants" and a third case in which 41 plants were netted.
One of the recent finds in Keighley was in Halifax Road last month, (Nov) when a routine visit by electricity officials revealed yet another cannabis harvest.
The cellar and front bedroom of the unoccupied house had been converted to grow the plants. At least 30 plants (pictured) were seized by police officers.
Between November 2015 and November 2016 police raids included one find of 40 plants at a Keighley address and another discovery of 39 plants.
Keighley MP John Grogan responded: "I know breaking up gangs that peddle hard drugs like heroin is the major priority for Bradford and Keighley's police, but cannabis farms are also illegal and need to be dealt with.
"Cannabis can cause health problems although I recognise there's strong evidence it can also provide some medicinal benefits for people in great pain and with terminal illnesses.
"I'd support a Royal Commission on Drugs Policy to examine evidence from around the world about what works best. Much greater resources need to be put into providing help and support to addicts."
Mark Burns-Williamson, police and crime commissioner for West Yorkshire, urged people to report their concerns if they suspect a building is housing a cannabis farm.
He added: “Substance misuse is often linked to crime and anti-social behaviour and therefore causes harm not only to the individual but to the wider community.
“I'm pleased West Yorkshire Police, acting on community intelligence, have been effective in locating these cannabis farms and ensuring they are dismantled.
“The fact the community have the confidence to come forward and report their concerns knowing their intelligence will be acted upon is testament to the good work being done in Keighley, and I'd urge anyone with suspicions about a farm operating to report it.
“That can be done by calling West Yorkshire Police on 101, or using the online form at westyorkshire.police.uk/report-it, or by contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”
Councillor Michael Westerman, chairman of Keighley Town Council's watch and transport committee, praised the police's proactive approach to shutting down cannabis growing operations.
"Getting rid of five cannabis farms could have taken out 30 to 40 people selling cannabis on the streets," he said.
"Five farms could generate £50,000 each per year, so dismantling them could potentially have taken away a quarter of a million pounds worth of cannabis revenue in a year.
"These police operations will have been intelligence led. The people of Keighley are coming forward with the information police need.
"And of course this information is treated in strict confidence."
Cllr Westerman said lettings agents acting on behalf of landlords need to check up on the properties they are responsible for to make sure these buildings are not being used by cannabis growers.