POLICE CONCERNED ABOUT EMERGING CANNABIS PRODUCTION TREND
 

Matt Jarram, Senior Digital Reporter & Crime Correspondent of the Nottingham Post, reported on Monday 14 June 2021 that Nottinghamshire Police are warning about the 'new trend' of cannabis chocolate and sweet factories, and the additional concern that turning cannabis production into a quick cash opportunity is emerging as a trend in Nottingham's student population.

Police warning over 'new trend' of cannabis chocolate and sweet factories in Nottinghamshire

They have also rescued 12 children from cannabis factories in residential homes

Twelve children trafficked into Nottinghamshire from overseas have been discovered in residential properties turned into cannabis factories.

Detectives are also concerned about an emerging trend among Nottingham's student population who are turning to cannabis production to make quick cash.

Police have shut down two major drug operations recently where were allegedly making cannabis chocolate bars and gummy bears.

Detective Superintendent Mike Allen, who leads Nottinghamshire Police's Serious and Organised Crime Unit, has lifted the lid on the city's cannabis problems. 

He said his officers will make 'no apologies' for directing resources into shutting down cannabis factories across Nottinghamshire. 

He says criminals can make millions of pounds, tax-free, from their illegal activities while honest people go to work for a living to make ends meet.

Police closed down an alleged cannabis chocolate factory in Johnson Road, Lenton, where nearly 600 bars of Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate were found at the property.

The chocolate was being cooked with cannabis butter, which was found hidden in the cellar, and then transformed into their own brand of chocolate bar.

Police have also closed down an alleged cannabis sweet factory in Burns Street in the Arboretum where students were injecting cannabis oil into gummy bear sweets. 

Evidence also suggested this was being run as a business.

He told Nottinghamshire Live: "They cook the cannabis, which extracts the THC into a paste or an oil, and then inject that into things such as chocolate and sweets. 

"If you start cooking the stuff then you are amplifying the smell. They may see it as a low risk enterprise but it is high risk in terms of detection. 

"Is it a new trend? Yes. Will there be more than two cases? Almost undoubtedly and until we do more police work we will not know trends and the effect on Nottinghamshire. 

"People see cannabis as low risk and high reward but it is a significant funding stream for organised crime." 

Police are warning students to avoid turning their hand to drug dealing or drug production during their three year spell in Nottingham. 

DS Allen said: "If you have a conviction for the sale of drugs you aren't getting into a host of countries. You will be excluded from passing through their borders.

"If you have a family in the future you won't be enjoying Disneyland. 

"You are also narrowing your horizons for employment. If you are foolish enough to produce cannabis in novelty form like sweets and chocolates you will regret that in later life. 

"When you are going for a job against someone with a clean record it will have a big impact on your life - make no bones about it." 

Beyond this new trend, DS Allen said cannabis production is funding many organised criminal gangs across Nottinghamshire and beyond. 

"People will have the debate that the police should not be focusing on cannabis grows because there are more serious crimes to investigate," he added. 

"We know people who are trafficked in from the Western Balkans by violent organised crime groups and held against their liberties to protect the cannabis grow.

"The most concerning is the trafficking of children from the Far East and Vietnam and they are controlled by gardeners in properties in Nottinghamshire. 

"These are young teenage boys. Children trafficked and held in cannabis farms in the residential houses of Nottinghamshire. 

"When we get a report of a cannabis grow in Notts we don't just assume it is a local person growing for local supply. 

"I will make no apologies for directing people to go through doors and seizing cannabis. When we go through the doors of cannabis grows very often we don't know what we are going to find. It is important to find the true story that lies within. 

"If that rescues one child or one young adult held against their will then that is exactly why policing exists, to do just that and we will pursue these people to the end of the earth." 

Police said in the last six months, they have rescued around 12 children from cannabis houses, some of who are just 13 years old. 

Recent figures from January to December 2020 show police recovered 20,000 cannabis plants which equates to around £8m. 

This is a major increase compared to 13,000 the year before, 11,000 in 2018 and and only 5,000 plants seized in 2017. 

"That is £8m that we know is driving serious violence, human trafficking and modern slavery. That's £8m where the money is not going into the exchequer. 

"People who are earning criminal money, paying no tax, and leading lavish lifestyles. I find that unacceptable. There are very few old rich drug dealers in life." 

He believes the closure of the nighttime economy during Covid-19 has allowed more officers to concentrate their efforts on drug-related crime.

He also believes the introduction of 12 Operation Reacher teams across the county to disrupt and dismantle drug dealers has also helped take drugs out of Nottinghamshire's neighbourhoods. 

But the reason why so many more cannabis factories are being found - the community.

He says they are no longer tolerant of living next door to those who peddle or produce drugs. 

He has one last word for drug dealers cultivating cannabis across Nottinghamshire. 

"Don't expect a knock from us. The door will be taken off its hinges."

Police warning over 'new trend' of cannabis chocolate and sweet factories in Nottinghamshire - Nottinghamshire Live