Hounslow police are urging residents to act as their eyes and noses in the struggle to stop the illegal cannabis factories quietly appearing in residential streets.

Inspector Mark Weston, from the Borough Task Force, said clamping down on the drug farms was a police priority and appealed to the public for help.

"Many of those we have already closed posed a serious fire hazard, due to unqualified electrical alterations," he said. "They also support the local supply of cannabis, with all the crime-generating issues that go with it.

"In the past, we've had considerable successes, but I am now asking for people just to think about the houses in their neighbourhood and consider whether they might be concealing a cannabis factory.

According to Insp Weston, the tell-tale signs are:
semi-detached, rental properties in quiet locations
curtains consistently drawn or the windows blacked out
excessive condensation on windows
only occasional visitors
considerable equipment (fertiliser, lights, ducting) carried inside during the set-up phase
and a strong sweet smell coming from the address

He said: If you suspect, let us know and we will take steps to confirm your information and respond appropriately. We have various tactics we can use to corroborate your information, so people need not fear being mistaken."

If you have spotted a suspicious property call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or Hounslow Borough Task Force on 0208 247 6327.