More than 2500 cannabis plants seized and 21 people arrested in Warwickshire as part of nationwide cannabis operation
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A major national operation targeting suspected cannabis growers has resulted in 21 people being arrested and the seizure of more than 2500 cannabis plants in Warwickshire.
This was part of Operation Mille that involved the location and search of 1,000 cannabis grows in the largest national operation of its kind, aimed at unearthing and disrupting organised crime groups and their illegal revenue streams.
Nationally, the campaign saw over a thousand arrests, and seizures of huge amounts of drugs, cash, and weapons.
Criminal networks involved in drug dealing, immigration crime and money laundering were targeted by police and partner agencies, who focussed resources to tackling large-scale cannabis cultivations – a key source of illicit income for organised gangs.
The links between serious crime and those involved in cannabis cultivation are clear, with the drugs trade fuelling gang violence as groups compete for territory and look to hunt out their opposition.
On 15 June officers seized 207 cannabis plants when they raided a house in Brese Avenue, Warwick. A man was arrested and later charged with producing cannabis.
Also, on 15 June, officers raided a house in Charlotte Street, Leamington after a utility company raised suspicions that cannabis was being grown at the address. The officers uncovered 140 cannabis plants growing on the first floor an attic (pictured below).
On 26 June, 135 cannabis plants were seized from a house in Coventry Road, Bedworth.
On 30 June, 119 cannabis plants were seized when a house in Beech Grove, Warwick was raided. A man was arrested and charged with producing cannabis.
Chief Inspector Steve Malone from Warwickshire Police Force Intelligence said: “The commercial cultivation of cannabis is run by serious organised crime groups who exploit vulnerable people and bring about untold misery in our communities. The profits from these grows support other aspects of serious crime such as cocaine supply and firearms trafficking. When the criminals move on, they leave premises in a dangerous and unusable state.
“Tackling the production of cannabis is often highlighted as a priority by our communities and today we’re pleased to publicise the great work that is going on to disrupt the problem. There’s a lot of drug dealers across the country substantially out of pocket because of this operation.
“Many of these warrants were executed thanks to information provided by our communities and this continues to be vital in helping us to tackle serious and organised crime.
“We’re not complacent; we know that other groups will look to move in off the back of this disruption. With the continued support of our communities, we can continue to tackle serious and organised crime in Warwickshire.
“If you have any information about the production or dealing of drugs, please let us know. We can’t act on every piece of information, but it helps to provide us with a better picture of the problem areas and allows to focus our resources.”
Do you know the signs of a cannabis grow?
Covered up windows – Curtains always drawn up or windows covered/boarded up from the inside.
Excessive security measures – Excessive security measures such as extra locks or grilles on windows.
Lots of condensation – Cannabis plants need a greenhouse like environment to grow. Look out for condensation on the windows, especially in the summer months.
Lots of visitors – Frequent visitors at unsociable hours.
Resident only visiting address twice weekly – Some cannabis growers are extremely organised and only tend to the plants a couple of times a week.
Plant growing equipment – Look out for potential growers taking lots of plant growing equipment in and out of properties, such as soil/fertiliser and plant waste.
Lot of cables and wiring – Cannabis farm set ups require lots of cables and wirings for all the equipment. If wires are still hanging from ceilings/walls after a week, this may be a sign of a grow.
Excessive electricity bills (For Landlords) – Have the electricity bills suddenly spiked or dropped? It may be likely that the tenants are fiddling with the meter.
Snow or frost – Cannabis farms produce a lot of heat. Be wary of a property without a snow-covered roof.
Bright lights day and night – Cannabis plants need light to grow, look out for properties with bright lighting.
Buzz of ventilation – The constant noise of a fan could be for ventilation for cannabis grows.
Vulnerable adults – Sometimes foreign nationals are forced to tend to cannabis farms and are victims of human trafficking/modern slavery.