lighting equipment

lighting equipment

Heat detecting camera picks up 'CANNABIS' factory in West Midlands

2h ago
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The West Midlands Police said a marijuana farm in a building complex generated so much heat from heating and lighting equipment that it was easy for the cops helicopter's infrared cameras to discover the... Criminals are piecing together heat-detecting drones using kit they can buy from supermarkets Criminals are using cheap kit bought from supermarkets to build heat seeking drones they can use to track down cannabis farms to rob. Tech-savvy thieves are buying drones for as little as £60 from supermarkets such as Tesco and attaching infra-red cameras to them, which they can monitor via an iPad. By flying the modified drones over houses, they can locate the drug dens, as cannabis farms produce a large amount of heat, due to the huge hydroponic heat and light required to grow the plants. Burglars are then breaking in to the premises and stealing the crop to sell on the streets. Any digital camera has the potential to film in infra-red, it's a simple task of replacing basic components, meaning it is becoming both easier and cheaper for criminals to obtain heat-detecting technology. Yesterday, Labour MP Tom Watson, who is the chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Drones, said: 'This is remarkable and shows the proliferation of drone technology which can be used for both good and bad. 'It is no surprise enterprising criminals would want to get the upper hand in the criminal underworld by using drones. 'As a society we will be dealing with the impact of drones on our laws and regulations for years to come and it is time the Government started listening about privacy concerns about the misuse of drones.' It emerged the problem is particularly prevalent in areas of West Midlands where the tactic has led to a number of violent robberies as the intruders know victims will not call the police. One convicted burglar, who did not wish to be identified, said: 'I bought my first drone for a few hundred quid and learnt how to fly it over wasteland and fitted a wifi camera to it so I could look into people's windows. 'However, I noticed police helicopters used thermal imaging cameras to find cannabis farms because of the heat the hydroponic lights give off so I bought a second hand heat-seeking camera one online and hooked it up to my iPad.' After finding a property containing a cannabis farm the criminal would either burgle or 'tax' the victim. The 33-year-old added: 'Half the time we don't even need to use violence to get the crop. 'Growing cannabis has gone mainstream and the people growing it are not gangsters. 'They are fair game, it is not like I'm using my drone to see if people have nice televisions I am just after drugs to steal and sell, if you break the law then you enter me and my drone's world.' Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, were first used by the military but simpler remote control models are now on sale from many high street shops and have a flying time of 30 minutes. Civilian companies are now using drones for various projects and both fire services and police forces are exploring their use. The Association of Chief Police Officers latest report on commercial cannabis cultivation found the number farms had doubled in two years and police were discovering over 21 a day in the UK. The report said: 'There has been an increase in robberies, burglaries and violence including the use of firearms linked to cannabis farms.' 'And there is evidence of taxing (stealing) of crops and debt bondage being used to control local individuals.'