Friday, January 02, 2009

Up in smoke

I was so tired last night I fell asleep half way through Agatha Christie’s Marple. My sister explained the plot to me this morning on the phone, but seeing as I missed half of the programme and my sister summarised it all in about two sentences, I may have missed some of the finer detail.

So I went to the local police station on Wednesday. Although it is in a police station, it is actually a police office. This means that it is run by volunteers and the ones who were there on Wednesday looked as thought they had stepped straight out of the 1950s. They were quite interested to hear that a cannabis factory had been found and after a bit of head scratching came up with a couple of numbers for me to call.

I called one of the numbers and spoke to a PCSO who was very helpful and he will get someone to call me with some details of what happened and also is going to get a Crime Prevention Officer to visit (at my request). He said that he thought it was unlikely they would come back but even if they did they seemed to be keeping a low profile and so would not want to be spotted. If I thought there was something going on I should call the police.

Well, yesterday morning I heard noises coming from next door, so I called the police (on the police’s new “not quite an emergency” number, rather than 999) and they came out within about 10 minutes (because they decided it was an emergency). They couldn’t find anything and the property was locked, but I explained to them that it was locked before but they were in there doing their cultivating. Then one of my neighbours said that his girlfriend had got up a while ago and had been making a cup of tea and that was maybe what I had heard. The police seemed to think that was the explanation, except it wasn’t because I can’t hear hem in their flat ever, so why that would now account for the noise that was clearly coming from next door is beyond me. So I’m not very impressed with my neighbour because it wasn’t any of his business. When the Crime prevention Officer comes round I am going to talk to him about it. My neighbour is a nice enough chap (he’s the one who reversed into my car), and he is always really friendly, but there are two things that are odd about the way he has behaved lately – he basically sent the police away yesterday and he has also changed the padlock on the side gate and hasn’t given anyone else the key, which he old me was because he didn’t think anyone would want to use the gate at this time of the year – which means that no-one then would be walking past the back door that the cannabis people would be using because the only reason you would go round there was to get to the gate. Just a bit odd…

I also wrote a friendly but stern letter to the freeholder explaining how important it now is that she makes the place more secure by replacing fences, getting the black of the windows and sorting out her garden (the final one so no-one can secrete themselves in it) and when the crime prevention officer comes round I am going to see if he will write to her as well.

So it’s been kind of busy here, but fortunately I haven’t bumped into any dodgy characters as yet...

Incidentally, I have looked into the signs of a cannabis factory and had I known these before I would have spoken to the police when I spotted the blackened out windows, so here they are:

- The windows of the property are permanently covered from the inside
- People visit the property occur at unusual times of the day or night
- People often do not live in the premises and only visit to maintain them
- There may be a vent protruding through the roof or a rear window
- There may be a pungent smell coming from the premises
- There may be noise coming from the equipment, such as cooling fans
- A large amount of pots and lights may be moved into the premises when the factory is set up
- In terraced houses, shared walls may appear wet to the touch
- Large amounts of soil and pots in back gardens

You might think that if they’re not disturbing you then you don’t want to disturb them, but you might reconsider if you know that they often tap into the electricity supply before it reaches the meter, which is very dangerous and is often the cause of fires. So phone your local Safer Neighbourhood Team or Crimestoppers and talk to them about it, if you think you might have some unwanted visitors...


Kahless said...

One of my neighbours is a fireman which would be handy for me!

Lemonpillows said...

Maybe you should set up a neighbourhood watch? I think you might be good at that. You can speak to the CPO about it when they drop by. And it may mean you get more information etc from the police...

Random Reflections said...

kahless - I have a neighbour who is a tube train driver. Not quite as handy as a firemen, but maybe I'll get a lift in the driver's cab one day! Happy New Year in case I haven't said that to you in 2009.

Lemonpillows - that's a good suggestion. I'll have a chat to the CPO when he comes round and see says. Happy New Year to you.