The illegal cultivation of cannabis in the UK has become a significant threat to properties following an explosion in the number of clandestine, indoor growing operations.
According to a report published in 2018 by the Institute of Economic Affairs, the black market in cannabis in the UK is estimated to be worth £2.6 billion per annum, with 255 tonnes sold to over three million users. It has also been estimated that around a quarter of of all electricity theft, where the supply is tampered with, arises from cannabis farming, particularly in rented properties.
RiskStop have created a helpful white paper on understanding the risks to property due to the illegal cultivation of cannabis. David Reynolds, RiskStop's Head of Risk Engineering and Surveys commented: "Cannabis farms are a major threat to property owners and steps need to be taken to both understand the risks and what can be done about them. The kind of incidents we've seen occurring due to the illegal cultivation of cannabis includes fires, explosions, escape of water, structural damage and even asbestos contamination. Rot, mould or infestation damage can also occur through moisture from irrigation systems and clear up and repair costs in the aftermath of a cannabis farm can be considerable, leading to significant amounts of property income being lost.”
You can access the white paper below. It highlights the kind or risks faced, some of the warning signs to look out for and a few of the measures property owners can put in place to avoid falling victim.