How does the SUSPICION that a person MAY be growing cannabis (breaking the law) pose such risks and how can the invasion of people homes be justified in terms of Human Rights.
If there is no known or potential victim, then how can there be a crime?
And at what cost?”
Cannabis factory find prompts Hull City Council to plan more inspections
Hull Daily Mail, March 27 2012
ROUTINE inspections of council-owned commercial premises could be stepped up after the discovery of Hull's biggest illegal cannabis factory to date.
Councillors want to tighten procedures despite warnings from one officer that checking for criminal activity could be viewed as "intrusive and offensive" by some tenants.
Three Vietnamese men – Toan Nham Vo, Dat Truong and Vuong Van Vu – were each jailed for a two and a half years in January after being caught growing more than 2,700 cannabis plants at the council-owned unit in Fountain Road just before Christmas.
The plants could have produced more than £2 million of cannabis.
Police officers took almost ten hours to clear the factory of plants, along with more than 320 lightning units, 283 transformers, 14 filters, 17 extractor fans and eight propagators. The operation was spread across ten rooms.
The unit had been empty, having previously been used as a skills training centre.
In a report, the council's assistant head of property, Nick Howbridge, said: "Historically, incidents of criminal activity in the 1,700 commercial properties leased by the council are rare and there have been less than a handful of cases over the past decade.
"Previous instances have involved a cannabis factory, sale of illegal cars and drug smuggling through hiding it in pallets."
In the report, Mr Howbridge said vacant units are inspected every three months while all units are reviewed annually as part of a statutory valuation process.
But he said introducing more inspections to check on possible illegal activity could cause problems.
"Our tenants are likely to find checks for criminal activity in their businesses both intrusive and, in some cases, offensive
"A much more formal approach or inspection to check criminal activity is likely to carry resistance and a poor response from our tenants."
Councillor Simone Butterworth, chairman of the council's value for money scrutiny commission, said reviewing the inspection regime was necessary.
She said: "We still want to see what can be done in terms of having more informal inspections of properties."