INCREASING incidents of ‘cannabis farm’ fly-tipping are being reported across North Yorkshire, police say.

Officers are increasing patrols and urging victims to come forward, as part of an operation to clamp down on the crime in the county.

The police are also working closely with local authorities to deal with the illegal dumping of waste associated with cannabis production.

The rubbish can include lamps, wiring, air filters, tubs of fertiliser and dead plants.

Earlier this year, police surveyed more than 75 farmers and landowners in North Yorkshire about fly-tipping – ten of whom reported having cannabis waste dumped on their land within the last 12 months.

One respondent said the remains of cannabis farms were being fly-tipped on their land every couple of months.

As well as stepping up patrols in affected areas, police are stopping and checking suspicious vehicles, as well as using CCTV and ANPR technology to identify offenders.

Warning signs are available to landowners to deter fly-tippers from targeting their land, and Rural Watch groups are being given information on what to look out for.

PC Gemma Mumby said: “Fly-tipping causes disruption to farmers and rural businesses, blights our countryside, and is hazardous to wildlife and public health.

“Criminals involved in cannabis production see fly-tipping as an easy way to dump their waste, so it’s only by working together that we can stop them.

“It’s really important that all incidents of fly-tipping are reported to the local authority.

"We work closely with councils, and forensic opportunities in cannabis waste could give us the chance to identify both fly-tippers and drug dealers.”

Hambleton District Council Leader, Councillor Mark Robson, said: “The illegal dumping of cannabis farm and other waste across Hambleton is not only an unsightly blight on the landscape, it costs our council taxpayers tens of thousands of pounds a year."