Police have seized £200,000 worth of cannabis plants in a new crackdown on those growing the drug in their homes.
Since the beginning of May, officers in Barnsley have raided 22 homes looking for cannabis set-ups.
Operation Barracuda was set up to target drug growers and to inform members of the public of the signs to look out for – including a strong smell or an increase in the number of visitors to a property.
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Wilkie said: “We will be targeting individuals who think it is acceptable to grow cannabis, whether this is a few plants for personal use, or 600 plants in a warehouse.
“The cultivation of cannabis brings unwanted criminality into the area, not only by people breaking into houses where they believe cannabis is being grown to steal the plants or cash, but also with people coming and going to buy the cannabis.
“The operation is based on information we have received and we will be visiting the people we believe are growing cannabis.
“However, we still need the public’s help to catch more people who are committing this crime.”
Earlier this week, Crown Court Judge Peter Kelson QC warned of the dangers associated with growing cannabis after a man, woman and their two children were held hostage in their home when armed robbers stormed inside looking for cannabis growing there.
Clare and Steven Foster and their son and daughter, were threatened with violence by three masked men who stole two vehicles, televisions, mobile phones jewellery and cash worth a total of £27,960.
Judge Kelson said: “The police recognise that, in South Yorkshire, growing cannabis in houses is carrying in its wake a large amount of serious, organised crime.”
n Anyone with information is asked to call South Yorkshire Police on 101.