Crimestoppers launch marijuana scented scratch cards to crack down on cannabis farms in Scunthorpe district
Marijuana-scented scratch cards are to be posted to households across the Humberside Police force area in a bid to crack down on illegal cannabis farms.
Latest figures show that almost 300 cannabis farms were uncovered by officers in Humberside between 2010 and 2012.
Crimestoppers, which has set up the campaign, said the cards would help people to recognise the smell of cannabis and report suspected plantations to police.
Across the Uk there was a 15% rise in the number of cannabis farms found in homes between 2011 and 2012.
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According to the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), about 1,800 cannabis farms were found in the area by officers between 2010 and 2012.
Humberside will be one of 13 force areas in which the cards are distributed.
Andy Bliss, from ACPO, said: "Many people don't realise that the empty, run-down house or flat on their street with people coming and going late at night may actually be a commercial cannabis farm.
"It's not just the stereotype of the remote rural set or disused industrial estate unit.
"These farms are often run by organised criminals [and] they bring crime and anti-social behaviour into local communities causing real harm and leaving people feeling unsafe."
The growing trend is now for people to cultivate cannabis plants in properties rather than larger industrial units.
The green and black cards, which are being distributed to 210,000 households, release a scent when scratched that replicates the smell of cannabis during its growing state.
Roger Critchell, director of operations at Crimestoppers, said: "We are distributing scratch and sniff cards because not many people know how to recognise the signs of cannabis cultivation happening in their neighbourhood.
"Many are also not familiar with the established links between this crime and serious organised crime."