Police and Liander busted over 600 cannabis farms last year
Last year, grid operator Liander and the police discovered 633 cannabis farms involving energy theft. The cultivators illegally tapped 31.9 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity - almost as much as the annual consumption of 10,000 households.
The number of discovered cannabis farms in the part of the Netherlands where Liander is active (Gelderland, Flevoland, Friesland, Noord-Holland, and part of Zuid-Holland) was higher than in 2020. In 2021, almost 50 more cannabis farms were busted, partly through "intensified cooperation with the police and municipalities," said Liander.
Many cannabis farms use an illegal connection to the electricity grid. Besides the fact that this is illegal, many of these connections are also amateurish, according to Liander. "Cannabis farms lead to very fire-hazardous and sometimes life-threatening situations. Installations that are often switched on for up to 18 hours a day have a high risk of overheating with melting cables, short circuits, and electrocution as a result." The farms also pose a fire risk to local residents, according to the network operator.
According to Liander, a cannabis farm can be recognized by a permanently strange smell around the building, condensation on the windows, and continuously darkened windows and doors.
Reporting by ANP