ITV Exposure finds torture and coercion in Britain's home-grown cannabis industry

Exposure: Britain's Booming Cannabis Business. Credit: ITV Exposure

The home-grown cannabis industry has links with the darkest elements of organised crime, including torture and coercion, with small hobby growers feeding in to a brutal black economy worth billions of pounds a new ITV Exposure has found.

ITV Exposure spoke to one criminal who robs growers of their crops and who freely admitted that he tortures people to get the answers he wants.

Exposure: Britain's Booming Cannabis Business ITV at 11.05pm on Wednesday

With access to cannabis growers and dealers, ITV Exposure found that as 80% of cannabis consumed in the UK is now home-grown and illegal cannabis production has become a multi-million pound business.

An anonymous former cannabis grower said he slept with a baseball bat by his bed as he was worried his crop will be robbed. He was coerced into turning over his home to drug growth after running up a £2,500 debt:

Police say this is not an isolated case and that some people are coerced into cannabis cultivation. Sergeant Paul Court from the cannabis dismantling team of Merseyside Police says:

The grower may be right to be concerned as a criminal admits he gave up armed robberies - because the jail sentences were too long - to rob cannabis from growing houses. He tells ITV Exposure he tortures people to get the answers he requires:

One anonymous grower said he sees the industry as having two levels - those who grow cannabis for their own consumption and those who grow it for profit. He says: ”To be honest, it's so easy to make money off this, but at the end of the day it's one of those two options, either you’re in it to make money or in it for the smoke.”

However one expert believes that there may be more links between the two:

Exposure: Britain's Booming Cannabis Business ITV at 11.05pm on Wednesday

Anyone affected by the issues raised in this programme can contact the FRANK Helpline on 0800 77 66 00 or contact them via their website