Commercial cannabis grow houses are a major concern for police not only because they are illegal and a safety risk, but because the profits are used to fund other serious crimes.
Ice remains the main drug on Ballarat's streets, police believe, but it is mainly made in outer-Melbourne suburbs or overseas.
Cannabis grow houses, however, have been found across the Ballarat district including three major raids in just the last two weeks.
Ballarat Divisional Response Unit Detective Senior Sergeant Darren Tanis said police were making inroads in their efforts to monitor and shut down the multi-million dollar industry.
“General intelligence indicates profits from cannabis crop houses are utilised into commission of other significant crimes including the supply and trafficking of ice,” he said.
He said the grow houses also presented safety concerns as the set-ups included a dangerous mix of live powers and watering systems.
The majority of operations are run off backyard electrical bypasses to avoid detection, with one grow house using enough energy to power eight houses.
“The abuse and overloading of the electricity supply is a community safety issue and a fire risk in addition to significant criminal activity,” Detective Senior Sergeant Tanis said.
Multiple cannabis grow houses have already caught alight this year due to the supply pits overloading.
“Police will continue to focus on this issue,” Detective Senior Sergeant Tanis said. “With the assistance of the community we will continue to investigate, arrest and prosecute offenders and seize property and houses.”
He urged the community to continue to supply information.
Report any suspicious activity to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
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