Sharp decrease in illegal cannabis plantations caught stealing electricity last year
Last year, the police and energy providers caught 1,060 illegal cannabis plantations stealing at least 75 million kWh of electricity. That is significantly less than the 1,800 plantations caught stealing 111 million kWh of energy in 2021, Netbeheer Nederland reported on Thursday.
According to Netbeheer Nederland, the sector organization for energy network operators, the decrease is not necessarily good news. “It does not mean that the number of plantations is actually decreasing,” spokesperson Theo Scholte told AD. “It seems that the willingness to report has decreased.”
The grid operators have noticed “that remarkably fewer reports are coming in,” also through the police’s anonymous tipline. Scholte called the decrease in tips “enormous.”
A spokesperson for the anonymous tip line, Meld Misdaad Anoniem, confirmed that the number of reports about cannabis plantations has been falling for years. “We have not done any in-depth research into it, but we suspect that it has to do with the regulation of cannabis cultivation,” the spokesperson told AD. The government has been talking about experimenting with regulated cannabis for years, and the first municipalities will finally start selling legally produced weed later this year. “As a result, people may see less of the urgency of reporting a cannabis farm in their area.
But according to Netbeheer Nederland, these reports are still of great importance because illegal cannabis farms in homes’ attics and cellars can cause dangerous situations. “Every year, there are about 65 house fires caused by illegal and faulty technical installations in homes intended for the cultivation of cannabis,” Scholte said.