The hidden cost of cannabis

Around £200m of electricity is being stolen every year to run illegal cannabis farms across the UK.

Phil Butler, Co-Director of Newcastle University's Centre for Cybercrime and Computer Security (CCCS), says this would be enough electricity to provide free energy for every household in Newcastle for a whole year.

Now the Newcastle team are joining forces with key organisations to investigate ways in which cyber technology could be used to crackdown on the commercial cultivation of this class B drug.

"The cultivation of cannabis is happening on an industrial scale but at the moment the police are still very much reliant on intelligence and tip-offs," explains Mr Butler, a former Detective Inspector with Northumbria Police.

"What we are trying to do is develop technologies that will enable us to take a more proactive approach in the fight against cannabis cultivation."

Around 4,000 cannabis farms are discovered in the UK each year. Cannabis is the most widely used of all the illicit drugs in the UK, with just under 10 million adults (16 - 59 year olds) having used the drug.

Read full press release.

published on: 9th May 2012