Seized drug-growing equipment sent to Rossendale schools to help gardening projects (From Lancashire Telegraph)
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Seized drug-growing equipment sent to Rossendale schools to help gardening projects
1:00pm Saturday 1st September 2012 in News
DRUG growing equipment seized in raids by Rossendale police is to be put to good use - by being recycled and offered to community groups and schools.
The kit, including lamps, fertiliser and reflective sheets, was discovered by officers investigating cannabis farms in the Valley.
The scheme follows in the footsteps of a similar, successful project in Todmorden, West Yorkshire.
Sgt Mark Taylor, who covers the Bacup and Whitworth areas, said he contacted Bacup-based charity REAL about how the items could benefit good causes.
He said: “Normally we would destroy everything that was being used but we approached REAL about possibly redistributing the equipment.
“I think the items confiscated could be put to really good use and we will monitor where they go.”
Among those groups to benefit will be gardening volunteers Incredible Edible Rossendale.
Pat Smith, community development worker at REAL, said: “It will be nice for Rossendale to follow in the footsteps of Todmorden’s Incredible Edible. I think it is great that the items seized in raids can be given a useful purpose in society.”
But despite this fun initiative, Sgt Taylor warned that there is a serious drug problem in Rossendale.
Police have raided 32 homes and premises across the Valley already this year, including three farms in one week.
Sgt Taylor said: “We really need the public to help us. There are tell-tale signs and if you spot them or suspect cannabis is being grown please contact the police.
“Some of signs are houses that do not have people sleeping overnight but are frequently visited, bins that are never put out, windows being boarded or covered and signs of condensation.”
He also voiced concern that there is no legislation forcing traders to check that people buying plant-growing equipment are not doing so to cultivate drugs.