Ontario police see a spike in cannabis plants being stolen out of people's backyards

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As Canadians start harvesting their homegrown cannabis, police are seeing a spike in reports of sticky-fingered bandits.

That was the case recently for London’s Mike Nutt, whose backyard camera captured a thief hopping the fence, hacking down his plants, and then absconding, all in less than a minute.

“He’s lucky I didn’t catch him,” Nutt told CTV London.

According to Tanya Calvert, a corporate communications officer with the St. Thomas Police Service, last fall marked the services’ first report for cannabis theft.

“We saw a trend begin and again this year we’ve seen another spike in theft of cannabis plants from backyard private grows,” she told CTV.

To avoid having your plants stolen she suggests harvesting early, installing security cameras and staying home to keep an eye on your grow. It’s also a good idea to keep your plants off social media.

Last month, a Chatham man took it upon himself to deter a potential thief, tackling the burglar and detaining him until police arrived. A similar strategy backfired for an Oshawa man last fall, however, who noticed his motion sensor lights go off and then confronted two pot pillagers in his backyard. The suspects stabbed the man before taking off with his plants.

Retired master grower Pete Young also offered some tips to CTV, explaining that he used to tie flowers around his cannabis plants to give them the appearance of a rose bush. He also suggests bringing your plants in at night if possible or installing chain-link fencing if you’re growing outdoors.

“Don’t do anything stupid like booby traps, but do anything you can to deter thieves and make them want to move onto the next yard,” he said.

If your plants do get nabbed, take a look at your home insurance policy, as you may be eligible for some coverage. According to a blog from Mitchell & Whale Insurance Brokers, insurers are more likely to provide coverage for plants that are grown indoors, as outdoor plants are riskier and more prone to theft or damage.

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