Cannabis cultivation appears to be on the rise in the UK. According to the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) – the British government’s utility regulatory body - at least one-third of all stolen electricity in the country is used to grow pot.

The revelation led Ofgem to announce a crackdown on stolen energy (power pilfered for pot production alone is worth over 65 million pounds annually) via new regulations to be implemented that will mandate all of the nation's energy suppliers forge liaisons with the police and government to better identify and avert power thievery.  

Also, a 24-hour "watchdog hotline" would be established to enable anyone to call in with tips – and be rewarded for providing such information to better motivate them to pick up the phone. 

Electricity is typically "stolen" by manual manipulation of the meter. Ofgem reported that approximately one-third of the estimated 25,000 stolen electricity cases in 2010 involved cannabis growing – with the actual energy companies speculating that power stolen for pot constitutes an even higher percentage. 

Ofgem plans to present the license conditions energy suppliers must follow sometime early next year and will subsequently fine any company that fails to abide.

More @ www.mirror.co.uk