POLICE are increasing patrols and urging victims to come forward, as part of an operation to clamp down on ‘cannabis farm’ fly-tipping.

North Yorkshire Police say they are working closely with local authorities to deal with the illegal dumping of waste associated with cannabis production.

They say 'selfish criminals' have been abandoning the remains of ‘cannabis farms’ in rural locations in the county, leaving local authorities and landowners to foot the bill and clear up their mess.

The rubbish can include lamps, wiring, air filters, tubs of fertiliser and dead plants.

Earlier this year, police surveyed more than 75 farmers and landowners in North Yorkshire about fly-tipping – ten of who reported having cannabis waste dumped on their land within the last 12 months.

One said the remains of cannabis farms were being fly-tipped on their land every couple of months.

In response, police are increasing patrols, particularly in remote, rural areas.

Tactics include stopping and checking suspicious vehicles, as well as using CCTV and ANPR technology to identify offenders.

Warning signs are available to landowners to deter fly-tippers from targeting their land, and Rural Watch groups – who use WhatsApp to share information about suspicious activity with police – are being given information on what to look out for.

PC Gemma Mumby, said: “Fly-tipping causes disruption to farmers and rural businesses, blights our countryside, and is hazardous to wildlife and public health.

“Criminals involved in cannabis production see fly-tipping as an easy way to dump their waste, so it’s only by working together that we can stop them.

“It’s really important that all incidents of fly-tipping are reported to the local authority. We work closely with councils, and forensic opportunities in cannabis waste could give us the chance to identify both fly-tippers and drug dealers.”

Residents, businesses and landowners are being urged to be vigilant, and always report fly-tipping to their local authority. This will allow action to be taken against those responsible, and stop them fly-tipping in the future.

Fly-tipping should be reported to your local council, via www.gov.uk/report-flytipping

Anyone with information about suspected cannabis production should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101. You can also pass information to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.