British granny on benefits reveals cannabis growhouse

British granny on benefits reveals cannabis factory
British granny on benefits reveals cannabis factory

When it comes to the illegal drug industry in Britain, it appears there is a new, unexpected generation of people getting involved.

A Birmingham grandmother, who takes disability benefits, is seen boasting of her cannabis growhouse in a new documentary from VICE and she says she can make hundreds of thousands of pounds a year.

And, she says, drugs dealers are increasingly recruiting people like her - so-called 'groppers' - as their age means they are less likely to come under suspicion.

"Groppers don't get caught - groppers don't go to prison," she says. "It's less likely for them to think that a woman is a drug grower."

"So three kids with one dependent going to university in September, so it finances me, it finances the kids, and it finances my immediate family."

The woman's face is obscured during the 20-minute film, which forms part of a VICE series on drugs in the UK. But she explains how she uses grow-lamps and lines the rooms with reflective sheeting to create a greenhouse atmosphere.

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She also tells presenter Matt Shea that she has six rooms, each containing a dozen or more plants, which can sell for £1,000 each. All she has to worry about, she says, is keeping the electricity bill for her grow-lamps down.

"Rig your electric, where the meter itself can stop, or if you're next-door to an empty house, rig it up to next-door and cover the room so that the light is not detected," she explains.

But it's not all plain sailing, with the documentary revealing that criminal gangs are now using drones with heat-seeking equipment to find cannabis factories in ordinary houses - and then steal the crop.

The government is gradually relaxing its attitude to cannabis, with MPs recently calling for it to be made legal when used for medical reasons such as chronic pain and anxiety.

The parliamentary group said it should be placed in the same category as steroids and sedatives, allowing doctors to prescribe it.

"Cannabis works as a medicine for a number of medical conditions. The evidence has been strong enough to persuade a growing number of countries and US states to legalise access to medical cannabis," commented committee co-chair Baroness Molly Meacher.

"Against this background, the UK scheduling of cannabis as a substance that has no medical value is irrational."