Weeding out the criminals: Over 450,000 cannabis plants seized by police in 2014

Weeding out the criminals: Over 450,000 cannabis plants seized by police in 2014

Direct Line for Business research reveals the extent of cannabis cultivation in the UK.

London, 5th June 2015: New analysis from landlord insurer, Direct Line for Business, reveals the extent of cannabis cultivation. The research highlights that 456,911 plants were seized from people and their property by police in the last year1, with just a single plant found by border controls. 

The most seizures were made by the Metropolitan police (59,002), which equates to 2,936 plants per million properties. However the Wiltshire police force seized more cannabis plants per household than any other police force. 16,032 plants were seized, which equates to 9,613 cannabis plants per million households.

Police force region/authority Cannabis plant seizures (per million households)



West Midlands


South Yorkshire






Though the overall number of seizures has dropped 10 per cent between 2013 and 2014, a third of police forces have seen an increase over the year, of 40% on average. West Mercia in the Midlands leads the pack with a 195 per cent increase in confiscations, followed by Cambridgeshire (110 per cent) and then Wiltshire (75%).

Police force region/authority Top five increases in cannabis plant seizures

West Mercia






West Yorkshire




Police force region/authority

Top five decreases in cannabis plant seizures





North Yorkshire






Direct Line for Business warns that landlords should vet their tenants carefully as cannabis farms can cause significant damage to their properties and potentially void their insurance policy. Direct Line for Business has seen claims for damaged ceilings and walls which have been knocked through, severe water damage and fires, all due to this criminal activity. In addition to the financial costs, landlords could also face legal action themselves if it is proved that they were aware of these criminal activities or have received money or proceeds from illegal drug activity.

Jane Guaschi, Business Manager at Direct Line for Business said: “The consequences of a cannabis farm on a landlord’s property can be financially catastrophic. Landlords should check to see if their insurance policy covers them for malicious damage as it’s not just the structural damage that could have insurance implications, it’s the financial headache of the clean-up that will hurt the landlord’s back pocket. What’s more, landlords could face loss of rent and the stress of the legal wrangling during periods of repair or eviction.

“As such, landlords should remain vigilant and investigate unusual tenant behaviour. In addition to carrying out rigorous tenant checks and regular inspections, landlords should be aware of odd smells, sudden fluctuations in energy bills and evidence that the electrical wires have been tampered with. If as a landlord you suspect your property is being used as a cannabis farm, contact your local police straight away. Do not confront your tenants yourself.”

Direct Line for Business’ tell-tale signs that a property may be being used as a cannabis farm:

  • Excessive fortification of the property (inside and outside)
  • Silver ducting tape hanging out of windows
  • Blacked out windows
  • Low-level hanging equipment
  • Humidity: condensation on windows, peeling wallpaper, mildewed walls
  • A pungent smell
  • Excessive use of deodorisers and air freshener
  • Sudden fluctuations in electricity bills
  • Electrical wiring tampered with
  • Powerful lights on day and night

For more information regarding how landlords can protect themselves from malicious damage caused by cannabis farms visit: www.directlineforbusiness.co.uk/knowledge-centre/guidance-for-landlords/cannabis-farms-dangers-to-property

And for tips on reference checking prospective tenants, go here: www.directlineforbusiness.co.uk/landlord-insurance/knowledge-centre/tenants/thoroughly-reference-check-your-tenants 

Notes to editors

  1. Based on DL4B analysis of drug seizures in England and Wales in the 2013/14 tax year as recorded by the ONS. Households estimated from population and household figures for the UK
  2. Direct Line for Business offers malicious damage cover as an optional extra. Check out www.directlineforbusiness.co.uk/landlord-insurance.

Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Amrit Nijjer
Tel: 020 7282 2803
Email: amrit.nijjer@citigatedr.co.uk

Direct Line Group
Simon Henrick
Head of News and Issues
Tel: 0208 313 5965
Mobile: 07833 166 717
Email: simon.henrick@directlinegroup.co.uk

Direct Line for Business

Launched in 2007 Direct Line for Business provides a range of insurance products for the small business sector direct by phone or online.

Direct Line for Business insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line for Business and U K Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Direct Line for Business products or get a quote by calling 0345 301 4827 or visiting www.directlineforbusiness.co.uk

Landlord Insurance Press Release

Added: 5th June 2015