Jan 27 2011 Harrow Observer
THE closing down of two cannabis factories last weekend is a testament to the work of Harrow police officers' efforts to crack down on drug-related crime.
Thermal imaging cameras used to help identify properties as secret marijuana 'factories', full of hundreds of plants, is just one in a gamut of techniques and resources available to crimefighters.
Whereas the police sometimes get lucky and stumble across a drugs den by accident, often the investigation begins, as it did in this latest instance, with a tip-off from a member of the public.
Anyone can contact the authorities, anonymously, and that is where the advantage of such equipment as the cameras comes into play, as it helps detectives build a case covertly without blowing the cover of neighbours or informants who may feel vulnerable.
The technology can also quickly help dispel suspicions: such as in the case of a house elsewhere in London where some people were looking after their neighbours' guinea pigs and decided to leave the lights and heat on round the clock to aid the animals' comfort.
The police operation demonstrates that action can and is taken against organised gangs that plague neighbourhoods with cannabis factories and will hopefully boost the confidence of residents that something is being done.