Good things growing from drug clampdown

Police with pupils at staff at Todmorden High School, presenting them with free gardening equipment
Police with pupils at staff at Todmorden High School, presenting them with free gardening equipment

CONFISCATED equipment used in crime has been recycled into a Christmas present for young gardeners at Todmorden High School, thanks to the town’s Neighbourhood Policing Team.

One of the top targets for policing in the town, prioritised after consulting with townspeople, is clamping down on suspected drugs offences, which has resulted in periodic raids on properties where it is suspected drugs are being produced.

Paraphenalia used in cannabis production includes items like growing tubs, water butts and garden canes which, once their role as evidence has been fulfilled, used to be destroyed along with any drugs.

But Inspector Dave Browning, of the Upper Valley Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) believes some of this equipment can be used for the public benefit by making its available to community groups.

In recent years Todmorden has developed several gardening and growing schemes, spearheaded by Incredible Edible Todmorden, and under the guidance of teacher Paul Murray the High School has devoted a lot of time, work, funds and space to developing gardens at the Ewood Lane site, produce finding its way onto the school’s menus via head chef Tony Mulgrew and his team.

Canes, composting plant pots and water butts are expensive to buy, and accordingly re-using the confiscated items will save the school cash.

Inspector Browning said: “This was a great opportunity to create another positive out of closing a cannabis farm in our community, and I am delighted that the school are able to put the items to good use.

“Once we have sent all the plants at a cannabis farm to be destroyed, we regularly donate any equipment which can be re-used to local community groups.

“Any groups who would like to register an interest in receiving these items is asked to contact the NPT via 01706 817237.”

Members of the public can meet with officers at regular Partners and Communities Together (PACT) meetings - the next one is at 7pm on Thursday, January 19, at Todmorden Town Hall - to discuss priorities for local policing.

For anyone unable to get to meetings an electronic esurvey form is available on the Todmorden section of the Calderdale NPT website.

There are also surgery sessions, including each Thursday between 10am and 11am at Todmorden Medical Centre, Halifax Road.