Report: Brabant farmers regularly asked to rent empty barns to drug gangs

Dutch police inspect a cannabis plantation in a house (Stock Photo: Politie)Dutch police inspect a cannabis plantation in a house (Stock Photo: Politie)

Farmers in Noord-Brabant are regularly approached by drug criminals asking if they can rent an empty barn for up to 1.5 hundred thousand euros, NRC reports based on a survey by mayors and investigative officers. 

About three quarters of the farmers in the nine municipalities in Midden-Brabant were approached at least once for this reason. Drug criminals want to use their barns or stables for cannabis cultivation or ecstasy labs. Over the past months, at least 27 farmers received a letter asking whether they would be willing to rent out their barn. Some farmers were approached multiple times.

"The expansion in the farming sector leads to vacancy and that has profound implications for organized crime", Hilvarenbeek mayor Ryan Palmen said. "Farmers can earn some 150 thousand euros per year with an empty barn. For many farmers with an empty barn, that is very tempting."

Authorities in the province want farmers to be more aware about the risks drug production on their terrain can hold. They are therefore setting up meetings in which drug gangs' methods are explained to farmers.