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Criminals Using Drones To Find Cannabis Farms and Steal Crops

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the red-eye-in-the-sky dept.

Crime 258

schwit1 (797399) writes "There has been a huge surge in the number of hidden cannabis farms across Halesowen, Cradley Heath and Oldbury, towns on the outskirts of rural Shropshire some seven miles from central Birmingham. They require hydroponic lights for the marijuana plants to grow – and the huge amounts of excess heat given off make them easily spottable for a would-be criminal with a drone carrying infrared cameras. One such man says that after finding a property with a cannabis farm he and his crew either burgle or 'tax' the victim."

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258 comments

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Just one more reason (5, Insightful)

lawnboy5-O (772026) | about 4 months ago | (#46785403)

... to legalize and regulate.

Re:Just one more reason (3, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 4 months ago | (#46785501)

... to legalize and regulate.

That is unlikely to happen in Britain. Politicians won't legalize it because there are too many special interest groups that want to keep the status quo of the endless "War on Drugs" and all the money that flows into it. In America, it has only been legalized in states with citizen referendums, so the politicians were bypassed.

Re:Just one more reason (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46785545)

The only reason there were violent gangs who made money selling alcohol back in prohibition was because it was illegal. Once alcohol was legalized, it took a lot of power away from gangs. Legalizing weed would take some money/power away from cartels which is always a good thing.

Re:Just one more reason (5, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 4 months ago | (#46785557)

Legalizing weed would take some money/power away from cartels which is always a good thing.

Sure. But it would also take money/power from the police, police unions, prison guards unions, etc.

Cartels will be fine.... (-1)

guevera (2796207) | about 4 months ago | (#46785575)

...if weed is legalized. It's mom and pop growers who will be hurt. Serious organized crime groups will just make up any lost weed money with other drugs. People who have turned to growing because the economy sucks so bad, like pretty much everyone in my hometown, will be the losers from legalization.

Re:Cartels will be fine.... (5, Informative)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 4 months ago | (#46785743)

Except for that's not how it's panning out in places like Colorado and the Netherlands, where it's largely smaller growers who are making money....

Re:Cartels will be fine.... (5, Informative)

erikkemperman (252014) | about 4 months ago | (#46785853)

Except for that's not how it's panning out in places like Colorado and the Netherlands, where it's largely smaller growers who are making money....

The Netherlands here. Not quite. We have this utterly silly situation where the selling of mj is sort of legal, up to a certain weight and only in designated establishments (the famous coffeeshops). However the growing and distributing is quite illegal.

The mom and pop growers are entirely insignificant compared to organized criminals. The latter produce way more than local demand, so much of that is exported.

Re:Cartels will be fine.... (2)

Zumbs (1241138) | about 4 months ago | (#46786179)

If I understand you correctly, any marijuana sold at Dutch coffee shops must then have been either grown illegally or smuggled into the country?

Re:Cartels will be fine.... (5, Informative)

erikkemperman (252014) | about 4 months ago | (#46786211)

That is correct. Like I said, an utterly silly state of affairs. So the output of these coffeeshops is legal (provided they respect the weight limits, don't sell to underage visitors, etc) while their inputs aren't.

The way it is now (but this is being debated constantly) we are basically not enjoying the major potential benefit of decriminalisation, which is taking the wind out of the sails of organized crime.

Re:Cartels will be fine.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46786217)

Yes, you are correct. Buying (anywhere) afaik is not illegal so the coffee shop operator buying the weed does not commit a crime, only the seller.

Re:Cartels will be fine.... (0)

guevera (2796207) | about 4 months ago | (#46785893)

Except for that's not how it's panning out in places like Colorado and the Netherlands, where it's largely smaller growers who are making money....

Sure, as long as it remains illegal enough that no legitimate corporation is willing to touch it. The minute you've got real legalization, as opposed to just decriminalization or some sort of nebulous status like Colorado (legal state, illegal under federal law) then it'll be a whole different type of criminal running the show...the same business a$$hole$ who run the rest of the economy.

Re:Just one more reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46785591)

>it would also take money/power from the police, police unions, prison guards unions, etc.

Like he said, the cartels. :)

Re:Just one more reason (0)

jcr (53032) | about 4 months ago | (#46785649)

Yeah, like he said: cartels.

-jcr

Re:Just one more reason (-1)

jopsen (885607) | about 4 months ago | (#46785709)

Sure. But it would also take money/power from the police, police unions, prison guards unions, etc.

Come on, I refuse to believe that these entities are actively working to put more people in prison for no good reason.
That's bullshit, police unions represents police officers, usually union policies are made by vote.
I refuse to believe that most police officers want to lock up people for no good reason

That said, they may very well have insights into why weed is bad. They may have experience traffic accidents, etc.

In that line, I think it's more likely that private prisons advocate for more prison time, etc. That would be the American thing to do :)

Re:Just one more reason (5, Informative)

nbauman (624611) | about 4 months ago | (#46785775)

Sure. But it would also take money/power from the police, police unions, prison guards unions, etc.

Come on, I refuse to believe that these entities are actively working to put more people in prison for no good reason.

That's bullshit, police unions represents police officers, usually union policies are made by vote.

I refuse to believe that most police officers want to lock up people for no good reason

I believe it. In New York City, we had the stop and frisk laws. Officers got caught on tape telling the cops under their command to fill a quota of arrests -- and to arrest black people. Most of the arrests were pot busts after illegal searches. (Possessing marijuana was a violation, not a crime. The cops forced people to commit a misdemeanor by emptying their pockets and displaying marijuana, which was a crime.) That was the subject of a lawsuit, which was also reported on Slashdot. It all came out in court, and Judge Schendlin wrote it up in her written decision.

The new police commissioner was complaining that cops arrest people towards the end of their shift so that they can get overtime pay. Think about that for a second. They're arresting people so that they can make more money.

As I recall, one of the strongest opponents of liberalizing drug laws in California was the prison guards' union. It was pretty clear that they wanted to keep the prisons full to protect their jobs.

That said, they may very well have insights into why weed is bad. They may have experience traffic accidents, etc.

Oh, yeah. Who has more insight into why weed is bad -- cops? Or doctors, psychiatrists and scientists?

While I'm inclined to agree... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46786485)

While I'm inclined to agree that it's a protectionist move, they also have a whole lot of first hand experience with the people who are the real problem.

Re:Just one more reason (1)

aynoknman (1071612) | about 4 months ago | (#46785793)

Legalizing weed would take some money/power away from cartels which is always a good thing.

Sure. But it would also take money/power from the police, police unions, prison guards unions, etc.

I perceive that you are paraphrasing the parent.

Can have trippy cake and eat it too (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 4 months ago | (#46785619)

You can easily legalize MJ and continue your money-generatin war on all the other drugs. It's like a token gesture to the people to make them think the government has given them something, while at the same time pacifying them even further. Win/Win (for the government).

Re:Just one more reason (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 4 months ago | (#46785943)

in britain you can still keep it(the war on drugs). there's plenty of other substances to keep fighting against.

besides, situation with mj in britain is that if you get caught with a joint/small bag pretty much nothing happens(compared to some other countries where they will raid your property..).

anyhow, it would be pretty easy to entrap these guys, to extract money from them. setup the lights and cameras, wait with your crew and boom, they pay or go to prison for extortion.

Re:Just one more reason (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about 4 months ago | (#46785513)

It may be to a lesser degree but legal businesses are the victims of theft and extortion too.

Re:Just one more reason (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46785525)

Sorry, no time for useless shitsacks like you.

Re:Just one more reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46785549)

""Then the pot growers and the thieves can kill each other off.""

User 'mendax' WTF are you on? Is it meth? Heroin? Were you being sarcastic? Or completely clueless? I forgot the part where pot growers are like cartels recklessly killing people to protect their empires.. (sarcasm)

The article is f**kin stupid to begin with ""Hydroponic Lights"" what the f**k are they talking about? They are call HPS -High Pressure Sodium- lights, leave it up to people or the press to also be clueless. Hydroponics is a method used to grow plants!! Actually for some reason I found that a little funny.. Hydroponic Lights.. haha

I'd agree with your comment, but the Colorado Government is already at it with their right wing propaganda, their claiming it is far easier for high school teens to get it. And here I thought one of the reasons it being legal was because of it being widely available while it was illegal. And I forgot of all those pot smokers in High school that continued smoking in college who then went on to become rich yuppies, by being smart enough to cheat the system, or came up with genius ideas/innovations.

Left-Wing Propoganda (2, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 4 months ago | (#46785639)

the Colorado Government is already at it with their right wing propaganda

Colorado is (narrowly) governed by the Democrats, not right wing. The Democratic governor is trying to slow down states [washingtonpost.com] from legalizing, despite it being a roaring success for everyone.

In fact what you'll find these days, is that most right-wing people lean libertarian - which is exactly why the people of Colorado (who lead independent/to the right) were perfectly fine legalizing something so many people did all the time anyway.

Look to the Democrats to shut it down [nytimes.com] ... They are the ones that need the massive funds the government gets from the war on drugs to help fund lots of other progressive measures.

Re:Left-Wing Propoganda (5, Insightful)

Plunky (929104) | about 4 months ago | (#46785803)

Colorado is (narrowly) governed by the Democrats, not right wing

Hello America!

I think you will find that both the Democrats and the Republicans are firmly right wing.

Sincerely,
The Rest of the World

Re:Left-Wing Propoganda (-1, Flamebait)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 4 months ago | (#46786123)

Dear You,

Please butt out of our domestic politics. It's none of your goddamn business, and yet foreign politicians know more about state-level politics in America than they do their own provinces.

Re:Left-Wing Propoganda (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46786155)

Note to self: DNS-and-BIND is a fucking idiot who thinks his personal definitions reflect the state of reality.

Thanks for making that clear, I can now filter your posts. Saved me some time.

Re:Left-Wing Propoganda (5, Insightful)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | about 4 months ago | (#46786203)

It's everyone's business, because we all have live on this planet together. Most of the world realises this, and we'd all feel a lot more comfortable if America would realise it too.

Re:Left-Wing Propoganda (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46786343)

Dear You,

Please butt out of our domestic politics. It's none of your goddamn business, and yet foreign politicians know more about state-level politics in America than they do their own provinces.

Dear you yourself.
You first.

Re:Left-Wing Propoganda (3, Interesting)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 4 months ago | (#46785887)

No, most right-wing people *claim* they lean libertarian.

And they do. Except on drugs. And media regulation. And pornography. And abortion. And federal abstinance-only funding. And gay marriage. And government religious endorsement. And assisted suicide.

'Libertarian' in the US is essentially a codeword for 'conservative, but don't want to admit it.' The only true libertarian aspect they have left is their economic policy, which stems less from any form of idealism than it does from the influence of corporate pressure groups who regard any form of regulation as a direct attack on their profit-making ability.

Re:Left-Wing Propoganda (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46786005)

Yes...

IF: 1. Every human being has the right to live, which should be protected by law,

AND: 2. From the moment of conception, the unborn are human beings,

Pulling religion out of the argument completely, if you have scientific agreement on points 1 and 2 then:

THEN: 3. The unborn have the right to live, which should be protected by law.

Just because you wish to associate other issues with the definition of life doesn't mean we have to accept murder as our lifestyle.

Re:Left-Wing Propoganda (1)

goarilla (908067) | about 4 months ago | (#46786297)

From the moment of conception, the unborn are human beings,

Where is the scientific agreement on that ? I don't consider a blastula a human being.

Re:Left-Wing Propoganda (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about 4 months ago | (#46786525)

It's called a life cycle or specifically a diplontic life cycle. A new human is created the moment a zygote is formed. Just because a creature is in a different stage of its life cycle and doesn't look anything like the members of your species that you deal with on a daily basis does not mean it is not a member of your species. Abortion is nothing more than setting arbitrary points at which to declare a human as "sub-human" and not warranting the rights afforded to humans.

Duh... (4, Interesting)

Mashiki (184564) | about 4 months ago | (#46785419)

In the old days, criminals would just follow others out or use dogs trained to sniff out other peoples grow ops in some farmers field, woods/back wood lot/etc. They're just going hi-tech, nothing to see in that sense.

the jew in the sky... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46785433)

sees all!

Move (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46785459)

If you didn't live in such a crappy climate this wouldn't be an issue...

So much nonsense in terms (4, Informative)

Khyber (864651) | about 4 months ago | (#46785473)

"They require hydroponic lights for the marijuana plants to grow"

What the fuck is a hydroponic light? Are we talking sonoluminescence or what? That's gotta be inefficient.

You mean an HID light, which produces tons of heat and is easy traceable from both ballast noise and heat.

Shoulda gone LED, suckers.

Re:So much nonsense in terms (-1, Offtopic)

beelsebob (529313) | about 4 months ago | (#46785491)

They don't care if it's inefficient, they just tap into the neighbouring house's electricity meter, or tap into the line into the house directly.

Re:So much nonsense in terms (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 4 months ago | (#46785553)

I think you're not understanding my words.

First, I'm mocking the term 'hydroponic light' as if the water were generating light. Then I go on further to explain that the only way they'd get light from a liquid that would even be usable enough for horticulture would have to be produced by sonoluminescence, which is highly inefficient and wouldn't produce the kind of heat (let alone light) an HID bulb would do, which is how these people are getting caught by drones using infrared thermal cameras.

Re:So much nonsense in terms (1)

beelsebob (529313) | about 4 months ago | (#46785559)

Ah sorry, I simply misread then. I assumed that it was a simple typo for "hydroponics light" - as in, a light used for growing things using hydroponics. It didn't even occur to me that it could be misinterpreted.

Re:So much nonsense in terms (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46785753)

Compound words formed in the manner "word 1 word 2" do not necessarily mean that "word 2" is something made of "word 1". It often means that "word 2" is something that is used on or for "word 1"

Examples - A "rock hammer" is not a hammer made of rock. A "baseball bat" is not a bat made of baseballs.

Re:So much nonsense in terms (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 4 months ago | (#46785579)

apparently you have no idea just how much heat LED arrays put out.

Re:So much nonsense in terms (3, Informative)

plover (150551) | about 4 months ago | (#46785689)

LED lamps do not put out nearly as much heat as High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lamps. I have a (disconnected) 400W HPS that I could easily have cooked on the top of the reflector, and probably broiled meat directly beneath it. I replaced it with a 144W LED floodlamp, and now I can hold the operating heat sink in my hand; the glass lens pane on the bottom is at room temperature. I am no longer concerned about fire safety in my house.

One major difference, though, is I'm growing orchids, which require far less light than cannabis. I need only two 144W LED floodlamps to illuminate a 72 square foot area. The pot growers will cram as many 400 W lamps in a grow operation as they can, sometimes a dozen or more in a single small room, whatever they can draw from the circuit breaker panel. They'll keep a large external vent fan running year round, including the dead of winter, to keep the room from igniting.

If I were to grow pot, I'm sure I'd need a lot more light fixtures, but even a dozen LED lamps in the same room probably wouldn't risk burning my house down.

Re:So much nonsense in terms (0)

Mr.CRC (2330444) | about 4 months ago | (#46785725)

You're confusing heat with temperature.

HPS is in the >100 lumen/watt ballpark. LEDs, while capable of much more efficiency when operated at currents below their maximum ratings, usually operate near the same 100lm/W efficiencies when operated at maximum current. Economics dictates pushing them to their limits in order to minimize the number of expensive emitters needed per fixture.

I suspect that your HPS just concentrates its heat dissipation over a smaller area, so it gets much hotter. And it of course produces nearly 3x more heat if it's 400W vs. 144W. But a 400W LED fixture would produce nearly the same heat overall. It just wouldn't get as hot ;-)

Electronic ballasts with PFC can run HID lamps quietly.

Re:So much nonsense in terms (1)

dkf (304284) | about 4 months ago | (#46785851)

But a 400W LED fixture would produce nearly the same heat overall [as 400W HPS lights].

Well yes. Duh. All those watts have got to go somewhere, and that's virtually all going to be heat eventually. What matters is how much light you get for that power. And LEDs and HPS are fairly similar (enough that the details of exactly what you're doing and how they were manufactured matter; the luminosities per unit power are similar, according to Wikipedia).

Re:So much nonsense in terms (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 4 months ago | (#46786059)

LED lamps do not put out nearly as much heat as High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lamps. I have a (disconnected) 400W HPS that I could easily have cooked on the top of the reflector, and probably broiled meat directly beneath it. I replaced it with a 144W LED floodlamp

I'm guessing that the LEDs are putting out much less light, since the efficiency of HPS lamps is sustantially above most commercial LEDs. However that may be OK since the sodium vapour lamps are skewed towards orange, probably making them less good per lumen for plant growing.

The other thing is that HPS lamps have an immense power to size ratio, meaing most of the substantial amount of head it emitted in a small region.

Likewise if you replaced your setup with quality electronic ballast mercury fluorescents (not as good as HPS) you'd find the whole thing only got warm since you'd be spreading the head out over a low area.

Re:So much nonsense in terms (2)

guevera (2796207) | about 4 months ago | (#46785587)

LEDs aren't there yet. You can't get cannabis to flower properly under LED lighting, nor can you get the sort of growth rates you'll get under HID lights. It might be useful for cloning...but flourescents work fine for that.

Also, the newer digital HID ballasts are silent. Even older magnetic ballasts don't make much noise, especially if they're installed properly. Your biggest noise issue is going to come from exhaust fans, but that can be minimized as well if you know what you're doing. Or so I've heard..."

Re:So much nonsense in terms (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46785767)

You can't get cannabis to flower properly under LED lighting.

LOL!

Re:So much nonsense in terms (1)

guevera (2796207) | about 4 months ago | (#46785907)

If you've got evidence to show, please share....our electric bills will thank you... but so far every person I've seen tell me LEDs work great has been full of it and usually trying to sell LED grow lights.

Re:So much nonsense in terms (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46786443)

First maybe define 'flower propely'? I assume it means yield, if so, then the issue might be that LEDs are not that much better than HIDs. You still need a lot of watts. HIDs are actually more efficient in terms of the lumene output*, so LEDs have only the spectrum efficiency, and maybe also an advantage in the form of lower surface temperature, which means that they can be kept closer to the plant. I would not change existing HIDs to LED, but I would maybe use LEDs for small installations.

* in the kW range at least

Re:So much nonsense in terms (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46785703)

here you go [lmgtfy.com]

There is another answer (1)

mendax (114116) | about 4 months ago | (#46785479)

The development of anti-drone weapons is the next step. Small radar-guided missiles the size of a bottle rocket used to destroy "enemy" drones. Or "fighter" drones armed with heat-seeking missiles. It could add a new dimension to the phrase "too close for missiles, switching to guns".

Of course, as someone has already pointed out, legalizing pot is the best solution. Then the pot growers and the thieves can kill each other off.

Re:There is another answer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46785507)

Actually, given legalization, the pot growers, being respectable farmers, will have every reason to stand their ground and turn the thieves into fertilizer.

Re:There is another answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46785693)

But how does one encourage the development of anti-drone technology. I assume various militaries are either trying to develop or have developed some technologies/strategies to combat drones (but are keeping them closely held until they need them (or I am over-estimating their foresight and intelligence.)

But also, in the case of drones being used by police states or just by public/commercial entities (invading privacy, etc) I would appreciate the development of defense methods accessible to the common person.

I can only guess based on theory and sci-fi, but I can't think of too many different avenues for defense against drones. One is just stealth/camouflage, but I assume it is hard to hide from infrared or just an over abundance of cameras (especially if those cameras are hard to detect.) .So like while roofs would prevent basic cameras, thermal shielding of some sort would be needed for infrared or heat detecting ones. Plus, in the case of say a guerrilla war/rebellion/protest/revolution/etc mobility is an issue and big, roofed buildings are obvious to other means of detection.

One could target the control signal for controlled drones (hack the signal, disrupt it, replace it with your own) and either take over the drone or at least cause its failure. For autonomous ones, one would have to interfere with the signal transmitting the camera/detector feed, perhaps replace it with a false one. But I assume with the right precautions and encryption, these methods can be thwarted.

Physically targeting drones would be the most likely solution, and at first would probably be some sort of seeking missile or counter-drone, but there are plenty of problems with this. High flying drones, if they are even detected, would be hard targets. Furthermore, drone vs missile combat would probably resemble current anti-aircraft/SAM combat, and would require both a means of drone detection/targeting and high number of anti-drone weapons.
And as the technology improves, drones and their cameras are getting smaller and cheaper, and then it becomes a problem of numbers. If someone can deploy hundreds of cheap cameras, they only need one or a few to survive any counter-measures. Or they can become so small as to be virtually undetectable, or so numerous as to be ubiquitous, or taking the form of natural entities (birds, insects, etc.) and they can operate individual or as bot-swarms (each providing unique problems.) In this case, its becomes an arms race as measures and counter-measures and counter-counter-measures are developed.

Perhaps the best countermeasure on both large scale and the small/personal scale will be drones themselves. Eventually, large areas (countries, cities, estates) would be protected by a "dome" of numerous, replaceable, small defense drones (similar to the ones in Stephenson's The Diamond Age.) And then personal defense drones shadowing and protecting individuals or perhaps even clouds of defensive nano-tech. (like in plenty of sci-fi stories,)

But the development of countermeasures needs to be spurred on by necessity and needs both funding and technical means.
So I would suggest just constantly invading the privacy of the rich. Hovering over their pools and outdoor parties, peering in their windows. Either they will get lopsided laws written that only prevent poor, citizens from using drones (which is entirely a possibility,) or a market will appear spurring the development of measures to thwart drones. Of course this could spiral out of control in many, many ways, from just private, semi-sanctioned police/security forces "protecting" their clients, to a robot vs human war (where maybe EMPs would be helpful.)

Re:There is another answer (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 months ago | (#46785759)

You don't necessarily even need a hard kill, with the accompanying risks of damage/injury to bystanders and their property...

Thanks at least in part to the robust market for green diode-pumped solid state lasers, moderately alarming and dangerous IR lasers are ubiquitous and cheap. Depending on the quality of your optics and the robustness of theirs, outcomes ranging from temporary washout of the image to swift and permanent death of the imager are highly likely.

Catch the drone with a Net Gun ! (3, Interesting)

advid.net (595837) | about 4 months ago | (#46786019)

The best answer would be a Net Gun.

From market [ebay.com] or DIY [instructables.com] . That's $400 or $60-$80.

I think many of the catched drone parts can be salvaged, after the fall.

Economic Threat (5, Insightful)

Ukab the Great (87152) | about 4 months ago | (#46785517)

This will lead to thousands of drug enforcement pilot jobs getting offshored to afghanistan where militants can remotely fly drug search drones around England for 100th of the price of a guy in a Cessna.

Re:Economic Threat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46785931)

The only militants remotely flying drones in Afghanistan are American...

Re:Economic Threat (1, Funny)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about 4 months ago | (#46785979)

Or we could just let people in the drug trade murder each other and let it be known that we will turn a blind eye to such murders.

Re:Economic Threat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46785989)

Or we could just let people in the drug trade murder each other and let it be known that we will turn a blind eye to such murders.

Isn't that close to what we've done with bacteria? Kill off the weaker ones and the super-bugs can thrive?
It seems like the result of your plan would be to have as much crime as before, but with tougher and more dangerous criminals.

Re:Economic Threat (1)

eneville (745111) | about 4 months ago | (#46786075)

That's an interesting thought, but survival of the fittest just means for the current environment. Once the environment in which the criminals thrive changes you end up with a set of criminals who are unfit for the current set of conditions. Or, say the farmers they poach off find ways to evade their drones. Criminals are clever people, don't ever underestimate them, yet they are also greedy and that ends up being their downfall. The pool of criminals genes to become "super" would need to know when to quit.

Re:Economic Threat (1)

goarilla (908067) | about 4 months ago | (#46786337)

Yes and here comes the resurrection of large crime syndicates: Murder inc, Maffia Families etc...

Fight fire with fire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46785535)

Get some sort of drone detector to launch anti-drones. Or get some IR lamps to confuse the drones. Etc...

bad farmers (2)

tleaf100 (2020038) | about 4 months ago | (#46785611)

if they were decent farmers they would not have a problem with the heat,use it for something, i feed my warmed,cleaned air from mine (very small) into my flat and now have under-floor heating and warm air heating,all controlable from anywhere with with internet/mobile coverage. i pay full cost of my electricity,no mucking about with meters etc and same unit also helps make some cash to pay for itself by having orchids etc in room as well and produce good stock early or out of season so sellable at premium prices,also fresh herbs and salad veg as well as my weed. kind of thing that would be much simpler,easier and safer if folk could self-produce,i only ever grow 6 plants,3 each for myself and partner.we have not had to do any buying of weed for years now,so no cash to criminals,we smoke all we grow,so no dealing,probably the only cash i have made for criminals are the ones who use hydro bit shops as fronts for their farms etc and i have bought lamps,feed etc from. legalise self production (3 plants per person) and that would probably do away with 50/75% of the criminality involved. if legalised,look at the amount of tax they are raiseing in usa + extra taxable profits for energy use and less theft also less house fires (mine is regularaly checked by

Trynna snatch my crops? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46785627)

Read the article title, immediately thought of Cypress Hill [youtube.com] . Surely I can't be the only one...

Captcha: reread

Where? (5, Funny)

freeze128 (544774) | about 4 months ago | (#46785629)

Halesowen? Cradley Heath? Oldbury? Shropshire? Where are these towns, Middle Earth?

Re:Where? (5, Interesting)

dkf (304284) | about 4 months ago | (#46785699)

Halesowen? Cradley Heath? Oldbury? Shropshire? Where are these towns, Middle Earth?

Where do you think Tolkien stole the names from? Though he should've avoided getting creative with "Mordor" and stuck with Wolverhampton.

Re:Where? (1)

niks42 (768188) | about 4 months ago | (#46786105)

Aw bless. This is why the World Series gets as far as Florida. This is called your HISTORY. You should be interested in it.

Re:Where? (1)

hey! (33014) | about 4 months ago | (#46786505)

"Mordor" sounds French to me. And "Sackville-Baggins" sounds like a frenchified English name, which I'm sure was no accident.

Re:Where? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46785991)

.... Where are these towns, Middle Earth?

That's why they need artifical light to grow weed...

Re:Where? (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 4 months ago | (#46786071)

Halesowen? Cradley Heath? Oldbury? Shropshire? Where are these towns, Middle Earth?

Specifically, the Shire.

Which is why the smart grow underground (4, Interesting)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#46785641)

Many growers have been doing this for years. Its not a big deal. You dig out a big hole in the ground, line it with concrete, throw a roof on it, and then pile dirt on top of the roof. No infrared signature.

You can even put it under your house or another greenhouse that has vegetables and flowers. If anyone quizzes you about all the materials you say its for that.

There is an issue with the smell. Nothing you can really do about dogs besides creating a hermetically sealed compartment that has very serious airfilters. Which is sort of the Walter White solution.

Anyway, build underground... its easy and works.

Re:Which is why the smart grow underground (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46785899)

Just farm in the open, using farming drones, addressable via the I2P network, with 360 degree cameras to detect intrusion. You can extract the harvest via UAV.

Re:Which is why the smart grow underground (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#46785935)

Obviously impractical... where as underground green houses have been a real thing for over 40 years.

Re:Which is why the smart grow underground (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 4 months ago | (#46785983)

I've been wondering why someone don't just dump a sack of seed in a river and then all pot heads can harvest it for 2000 km all the way to the sea. After all, it is called 'weed' for a reason.

Re:Which is why the smart grow underground (2)

dargaud (518470) | about 4 months ago | (#46786039)

Couple years ago there was a town where some pranksters had it seeded and growing everywhere, even in that plaza fountain in the middle of town hall.

Re:Which is why the smart grow underground (2)

swb (14022) | about 4 months ago | (#46786231)

A guy I used to know in college was from a rural area. There was a small river that was navigable by canoe, and his brother used to go canoeing in the spring and plant seeds along the river.

He'd make a few trips during the summer to check up on them, in the fall he'd come by, cut them down to dry and then make one last trip to pick up the most promising plants.

Re:Which is why the smart grow underground (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46786029)

Apparantly one "easy" solution is to grow pot is to grow it in pine forrests which act as a thermal mask. Bonus points if you bypass forfiture laws by growing it on public land.

Re:Which is why the smart grow underground (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#46786073)

Its a favorite of the cartels but it has obvious problems.

If you're going out there it means you can be monitored, seen, etc... it lacks privacy.

Also... hikers will steal your product unless you camp out there to protect it which just increases the inconvenience and risk.

The cartels get away with it because they have some poor guy sit out there to guard it... frequently an illegal immigrant that doesn't know anything. They just hand him a wad of cash, give him some camping supplies, and tell him to guard the crop.

Rangers run them off occasionally.

Re:Which is why the smart grow underground (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46786329)

Also: deer will eat it.

Re:Which is why the smart grow underground (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46786403)

Also: deer will eat it.

I bet that makes for some pretty righteous deer!

Re:Which is why the smart grow underground (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#46786425)

Most forest creatures are pretty much constantly stoned on one thing or another... often stomach parasites. All sorts of stuff.

Cows... drunk... constantly... they literally have a brewery in their stomachs.

Re:Which is why the smart grow underground (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 4 months ago | (#46786431)

Hmm, the electric company will still spot and report your usage, unless you supply your own power.

Re:Which is why the smart grow underground (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#46786513)

if you're going to the trouble to build an underground green house then you can go to the trouble to put a few solar panels/wind mill out with a battery bank.

sorry but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46785645)

I love it.. even low level crime has gone high tech

Re:sorry but (2)

Dan1701 (1563427) | about 4 months ago | (#46786325)

Actually, if you read the original story this is just one man talking, and there's a pretty good chance he could just be spinning a yarn for a journalist. Drone aircraft are rare here in Britain, and thermal cameras are similarly rare and expensive to buy (the thermal imagers fitted to high-end BMW cars are about the cheapest such units).

All UK police forces which operate helicopters (which is pretty much all of them) have a stated policy of keeping the thermal image camera turned on whenever the helicopter is in flight, and the operator has standing orders to note the location of any unusually warm buildings for later assessment by ground units. This is likely where this man has got his idea from, but I seriously doubt that he is actually putting it into practice.

huge amounts of excess heat (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46785655)

First, what is a 'hydroponic light'??? I grow (more than just cannabis too) and have never heard of this? I can't imagine there'd be "huge amounts of excess heat" if the light was 'hydroponic' (read: water cooled lighting), sign me up for some of those after the initial test phase :) ... Second, how is there "huge amounts of excess heat"?? How big are these operations? Do they have 10 600W HID's glowing AT THE ROOF?? I've done everything from soil and hydro to gravity systems and fog-ponics, the MOST my rooms EVER heat up is a few degrees (2 to 5) ... if ANYTHING you would see that my growing areas are COOLER than other spots ... HEAT KILLS PLANTS and breads mold!

I'm not buying a lot of this story; the original article didn't mention anything more than 'some 33 year old dude claims he's stealing bud using a drone and an IR camera`

Re:huge amounts of excess heat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46785691)

breads mold!

That's why I keep mine in the fridge. Sure, it seems to go a bit stale faster, and you get mold eventually regardless, but it sure as hell beats keeping it one of those old-style bread boxes.

STOP SPREADING PARANOIA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46785697)

I'm all for a good conspiracy theory, but STOP SPREADING THIS PARANOIA INDUCING FODDER!

Unless these grows were big (some thousands of watts worth of lighting), had ZERO insulation in their grow rooms or were being done in shanty sheds in peoples backyards (which would explain 0 insulation), a simple IR camera attached to a user drone would NOT pick the heat signature of a grow .. guess what it WOULD pick up though: the heat signature of the ROOF!

Thought experiment ... it's 2 in the afternoon, you have your grow going in a nominal portion of your house: if an IR camera could pick up the heat of your grow THROUGH THE ROOF of your house OVER the heat of the roof from the sun, wouldn't you think it would be so hot in your house as to be possibly unbearable???

Unless these grows were directing all of their lights at the roof or just idiots who don't understand basic horticulture, this article reeks of paranoia mongering ...

Re:STOP SPREADING PARANOIA (1)

findoutmoretoday (1475299) | about 4 months ago | (#46786009)

Big enough to raid, that's thousands of watts. And that heat ends somewhere.

Re:STOP SPREADING PARANOIA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46786321)

I thought they were flying over rural areas and finding plants growing outside. In the 90s my buddy would go hiking all over the woods in Western Mass looking for plants and many times he would find them. From what I understand outdoor plants on the West Coast are grown on an even more massive scale in Northern Cali so maybe they aren't even looking for hydroponic grow houses but actually outdoors.

More like, it was destroyed. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46785777)

Republicans have been using violence to destroy crops for decades. Their kind has no interest in the product. They only want to keep it away from others. Their kind is the very definition of sour grapes.

Ummm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46785783)

"Halesowen, Cradley Heath and Oldbury, towns on the outskirts of rural Shropshire some seven miles from central Birmingham"

Not sure if these are real locations or you just started listing locations from Lord of the Rings.

Re:Ummm (0)

mrbester (200927) | about 4 months ago | (#46785879)

Ever notice how when there's some story from somewhere obscure in US a whole bunch of arseholes jump in with "is that a real place, lol"? No, me neither, because as residents of other countries we aren't brought up to be arrogant parochial dickheads.

Re:Ummm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46786311)

Yes, you're the posterboy of civility. Would you like a biscuit?

Re:Ummm (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 4 months ago | (#46785895)

These are noteable for being a few of the places in the UK where the pronounciation actually reflects the spelling.

Dealers also use webcams (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46785785)

According to a newspaper article in sweden (translated) [www.svd.se]
Drug dealers have set up webcams to be able to monitor police activity in the area.

Small IR cameras are expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46786373)

Drones cheap. Small IR cameras, expensive currently. Note that drone in the article in no way is using an IR camera.

if someone has a source of small cheapish IR cameras, ideally IP cameras, let me know. The cores exist, but I understand it's not easy to get them.

Re:Small IR cameras are expensive (1)

Mendy (468439) | about 4 months ago | (#46786433)

Something like this? [adafruit.com]

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