Police found cannabis plants worth £89,000 in a three-month crackdown in South Yorkshire – thanks to ‘scratch and sniff cards’ to help people identify the smell.
The cards were issued by South Yorkshire Police to teach residents what cannabis smells like.
The hope was that people unaware of the smell would recognise it and alert police to cannabis factories.
Tip-offs to Crimestoppers on the back of the cards led to a 34 per cent increase in calls and the seizure of £89,000 worth of cannabis plants.
Officers also made 15 arrests as a result of the information passed on.
More than 200,000 scratch and sniff cards were handed out in cannabis hotspots, including South Yorkshire, London, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Avon and Somerset.
Crimestoppers’ regional manager David Hunter said: “The amazing response of the public, and the trust they have in our unique anonymous reporting system, was evident in the commercial cannabis campaign, with a 34 per cent increase in calls in South Yorkshire leading to some substantial seizures totalling about £89,000.
“In South Yorkshire alone during 2010 to 2012 over 1,600 cannabis farms were identified by South Yorkshire Police, and the negative impacts on the community of these organised criminal gangs cannot be over emphasised.
“The cannabis campaign was just one of the innovative campaigns we launched last year.”
Crimestoppers chief executive Mark Hallas said: “Crimestoppers’ commitment to fighting crime has never been stronger and we continue to be proactive and determined in exploring new and innovative ways to educate, empower and encourage the UK public to put their trust in Crimestoppers.”
Call South Yorkshire Police on 101.