Empty barns popular with drugs gangs, farmers regularly approached

Photo: Public prosecution department
Photo: Public prosecution department

Farmers in the south of the Netherlands are often approached by drugs gangs to rent out empty barns for marijuana plantations or drugs labs, the NRC said on Monday.

In the region known as Hart van Brabant, 75% of farmers say they have been approached about empty buildings, the paper said. It bases the claims on local council research.

‘Farmers are being offered up to €150,000 a year for their empty barns,’ Hilvarenbeekse mayor Ryan Palmen told the paper. ‘That can be extremely tempting.’

The paper knows of 27 farmers who have been approached by letter in the past few months about marijuana plantations.

Officials say farmers need to be better aware of the risks attached to allowing drugs to be produced on their property. ‘We have to make sure that people know the dangers,’ said Caspar Hermans of the Taskforce Zeeland-Brabant, which has organised meeting with locals to spread the word.

The police dismantled 5,856 marijuana plantations last year, or nearly 16 a day, the NRC said on Thursday.

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