Several drug labs rolled up per month in North Holland: how do you recognize them?

On average, four drug labs are closed down in North Holland every month, according to Platform Veilig Ondernemen. Mainly located on industrial estates. But how do you, as an entrepreneur, recognize a drug lab that is active near your company? And why doesn’t everyone report it? “You don’t want them to come visit you at home.”

On a gray Tuesday morning, a mobile drug lab rises in a large parking lot in Hoorn. There is a cannabis plantation, a synthetic drug installation and a cocaine installation. Just like real, but mainly intended to alert local entrepreneurs to suspicious signals. Because how do you recognize a drug lab?

“We hear from entrepreneurs that they find it difficult to recognize this. So we want to help them with that,” explains Fokko Mellema of Platform Veilig Ondernemen Noord-Holland about the initiative.

Taped up windows

Sometimes recognizing it is not that difficult, says Martin Beij. As park manager of all industrial estates in Hoorn and Medemblik, he keeps an eye on things and regularly receives reports from entrepreneurs. “They are the eyes and ears. We want to keep it safe and tidy on the industrial estate. Every now and then you see taped-up windows at a company. That is already suspicious, because what should not be seen? Or a snake from the window, or a certain smell.”

Just this month, it happened at the Hoorn80 industrial estate. There, a cannabis farm and an inoperative drug lab were found in a warehouse. The neighborhood had its suspicions, but did not sound the alarm, saw Fokko Mellema of Platform Veiling Ondernemen. “Sometimes a small signal can be valuable. If you see a white van approaching a building at 11 p.m., write down the license plate number and pass it on to the police. That small piece of the puzzle can be part of a larger investigation .”


What are other signals? “Sometimes a drug lab is built into a building where regular activities also take place. Then it is difficult to see. But in a drug lab, waste is removed, it makes noise, you can smell it and there are often activities at different times.”

It’s not always ignorance. Fear certainly plays a role, Beij knows. “You don’t want them to visit you at home,” he says. In addition, entrepreneurs are loyal to each other, says Mellema. “They don’t just rat each other out.” Yet it is a dangerous development, Beij knows. “If you look to the left, but it happens to the right, it may be that a little later it is everywhere. And then you have a problem. That is why we are happy with everyone who says: I don’t want this on the site.”