Cannabis plants worth £130million and £650,000 cash seized in record raids across UK


Police have busted more than 1,000 cannabis farms across the UK, seizing plants worth £130million and in one case, £650,000 in cash.

Operation Mille, described by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) as the most significant of its kind in the history of the UK, also saw almost 1,000 suspects arrested, and almost £650,000 in cash.

The massive month-long series of raids targeted what law enforcement believes is a cash cow for organised crime gangs who are also involved in other offences such as money laundering, Class A drug smuggling, and violence.

Steve Jupp, the National Police Chiefs' Council lead for Serious and Organised Crime, said: "We know that organised networks involved in cannabis production are also directly linked to an array of other serious criminality such as Class A drug importation, modern slavery and wider violence and exploitation.

"This operation not only successfully disrupted a significant amount of criminal activity, but the intelligence gathered will also help inform future law enforcement across the country.

He added: “Cannabis-related crime is often thought to be 'low level'. however, there are clear patterns around the exploitation and violence organised crime groups are using to protect their enterprises.

"We also frequently find that cannabis production is just one aspect of their criminal operations and that they are complicit in wider offending which blights our communities."

Involving all 43 police forces in England, Wales and Scotland and taking place throughout June, Operation Mille saw 200,000 cannabis plants seized, along with 15 to 20 guns and more than 40 other offensive weapons.

Roughly 11,000 officers were involved in the crackdown, during which £636,000 in cash was also seized, as well as 26 kilogrammes of cocaine. Of the 947 people who were arrested, more than 450 were later charged.

Large-scale industrial units are used for cannabis farms but also empty residential homes.

Police say the buildings can become dangerous as a result of fire risks, unlawful abstraction of electricity, fumes and water damage.

The sheer size of criminal cannabis factories means damage is often caused to the properties themselves. Buildings can become dangerous as a result of fire risks, unlawful abstraction of electricity, fumes and water damage.

Anyone with information about a potential cannabis factory or drug dealing is asked contact their local force online or via 101. They can also contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or

Telltale signs that a property may be being used as a cannabis factory:

* Frequent visitors to a property at unsocial hours throughout the day and night

* Blacked out windows or condensation on the windows, even when it is not cold outside

* Bright lights in rooms throughout the night

* Electricity meters being tampered with/altered and new cabling, sometimes leading to street lighting. High electricity bills could also be an indicator

* A powerful, distinctive, sweet, sickly aroma and noise from fans

* Lots of work or deliveries of equipment to an address, particularly those associated with growing plants indoors without soil such as heaters and lighting

* An excessive amount of plant pots, chemicals, fertilisers, and compost

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