Come down hard on landlords plea after drugs raids lead to power cuts

Come down hard on landlords plea after drugs raids lead to power cuts

By Gareth Dennison | 11/06/2021

Come down hard on landlords plea after drugs raids lead to power cuts


POWERLESS Eastwood residents are being blighted by power cuts because so many cannabis farms are found there.

About ten weed set-ups have been discovered in police raids on properties in the area in recent weeks.

Residents want to see lasting change — and have called on RMBC to take more action against landlords whose properties are found to be used for growing drugs.

One resident said: “The power is getting shut off every time. I was told there were 164 properties affected in the last one. That’s a significant area, and the power can be off from evening until the next morning.

“It’s way past time that they made landlords more responsible for their properties. If landlords were checking their houses as they should, then this wouldn’t be happening.

“People down here are screaming out for the council to do more.”

Another resident said: “There’s been a hell of a lot of activity recently. It’s a big problem we have here, where houses have been used for cannabis cultivation.

“And it means they need to shut off the power all the time while these set-ups are dismantled.

“The problem doesn’t seem to get tackled. With the landlord scheme, selective licensing, you would think that the landlords would be held responsible.

“They should know what’s happening in their own properties. They should be checking regularly. It just beggars belief.”

He added: “The council needs to be coming down hard on them because this is genuinely a massive problem for this community and we need to see people being held accountable.”

Selective licensing was introduced in 2015 to increase standards in private rented accommodation. Landlords must pay £521 per property for five years.

Tom Smith, RMBC’s assistant director for community safety and streetscene, said: “The council works in close partnership with the police and others to reduce the prevalence and impacts of drug-related harm.

“Investigations are ongoing in terms of the recent cannabis farms.

“Once these have concluded, the council will look to take all appropriate actions possible under selective licensing or other legal powers available to us, as we have done on previous occasions.”

A police spokesman added: “The cultivation of cannabis directly funds the activities of organised criminals and we will continue to work closely with our partners in the council to shut down these criminal enterprises.

“Taking drugs off the streets and ensuring they do not fall in to the hands of vulnerable people, is a top priority here in Rotherham.

“The production and supply of drugs is something residents regularly tell us they want to see us take robust action against.”

He added: “In response to this, officers from Operation Fortify and our neighbourhood policing teams frequently execute drugs warrants across Rotherham to disrupt criminal activity in the area.

“When we target cannabis factories, we often find the manner in which they are set up is dangerous, and poses a high degree of risk to both the occupants and neighbouring houses and there have been incidents of house fires caused by such set-ups.

“Accordingly, we take every precaution possible to ensure the factories are shut down safely, as quickly as possible.

“If you think you can help us identify those involved in the distribution of illegal drugs, it’s essential you come forward by calling 101 to tell us what you know.

“If you would rather remain completely anonymous, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”

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