New scheme to target cannabis farm flytipping in Bradford

A cannabis farm in Bradford
A cannabis farm discovered in Bradford in June Credit: Bradford East Police

Bradford could become the first place in the UK to trial a scheme to combat flytipping linked to dismantled cannabis farms.

A report to the city council says there has been an increase in incidents of rubbish – including dead plants, compost and lighting equipment – being illegally dumped after cannabis farms have been shut down.

Now there is a proposal for police who raid cannabis factories to spray equipment and other items that are left behind with Smart Water – an invisible substance which shows up under ultraviolet light.

Any items that are dumped can then be traced back to the property.

The report said: "This a new and innovative approach which we believe may not have been tried elsewhere in the country."

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Since 2019, the city's environmental enforcement team has responded to more than 9,000 incidents of flytipping in the city.

But the problem of dumping linked to cannabis farms is relatively new.

A report, to be presented at the council's Regeneration and Environment Committee on Tuesday (11 January), said: "When fly tipped bags have been opened they have found to contain dead cannabis plants, lamps, wiring and tubs of fertiliser."

In one incident drug paraphernalia was dumped on the banks of a stream that feeds into Bradford's water supply, and another saw "unidentified gardening waste" tipped along the side of a picturesque country road.

The report suggests many of the incidents may not be down to the criminals who grow the cannabis.

Instead, it says landlords who are left with the remains of the illegal grows in their properties may be responsible.

Under the new scheme landlords will be advised that unless they dispose of the waste legally, they could face action.