Three-times as many skunk factories found last year than five years ago
DISCOVERIES of skunk factories in London have more than tripled in the last five years, according to New Scotland Yard.
Figures released to the BBC under the Freedom of Information Act show that back in 2004, the Metropolitan Police found 206 cannabis cultivation centres, but by 2008, that figure had shot up to 654.
That jump in the stats could mean there are more skunk factories than before or that police are nowadays better at detecting them, or a combination of both.
The government were keen to take a positive line on the news.
"The high levels of detection of cannabis farms, as revealed in these figures, are an encouraging sign and demonstrate our commitment to catching those who bring cannabis onto our streets," said a spokesperson for the Home Office.
Nevertheless, it is thought the cannabis market in the UK is now all but dominated by home produced skunk, whereas ten years ago, imported produce was the norm.
One effect of of the take-over by local factories is that the strength of the drug has gone up, with some modern strains of skunk being several times as strong as the older, outdoor-farmed plants.
"Alongside the appointment of a full-time co-ordinator, the National Policing Improvement Agency will soon be publishing guidance for enforcement agencies to help tackle the commercial cultivation of cannabis,' said the Home Office spokesperson.