The charity claims there has been a 15 per cent rise in the number of domestic farms discovered between 2011 and 2012.

Hotspots included London where more than 1200 farms were uncovered.

Andy Bliss, from ACPO, said: “Many people don’t realise that the empty, run-down house or flat on their street with people coming and going late at night may actually be a commercial cannabis farm.

“It’s not just the stereotype of the remote rural set or disused industrial estate unit.

“These farms are often run by organised criminals [and] they bring crime and anti-social behaviour into local communities causing real harm and leaving people feeling unsafe.”

Roger Critchell, director of operations at Crimestoppers, said: “We are distributing scratch and sniff cards because not many people know how to recognise the signs of cannabis cultivation happening in their neighbourhood.

“Many are also not familiar with the established links between this crime and serious organised crime.”

The initiative which is a scheme borrowed from the Netherlands, will also tell residents what to look out for, from the mundane: “lots of cables” to the patently-obvious “Cannabis growing equipment”.