Two people have been arrested after a large-scale cannabis factory was uncovered on Weston-super-Mare high street yesterday morning, 12 July.
Officers executed a Misuse of drugs Act warrant on the address of a disused pub shortly after 9am, where around 900 cannabis plants worth an estimated £1 million were found.
A 16-year-old boy and a 41-year-old man who were inside the property were subsequently arrested on suspicion of cultivation of cannabis and remain in custody.
Chief Inspector Jonathan Murray said:
“Cannabis grows like this are undoubtedly linked to organised crime. The amount of harm that can cause in terms of violence, intimidation, exploitation, and modern slavery is huge. There is certainly evidence and indications here today that modern slavery and exploitation is involved.
“It’s not just cannabis, it’s that greater link to other serious crime, which is why we urge the public to report if they have any suspicions this is happening in their local area.”
The warrant was executed following reports and intelligence received from members of the community that drugs may be being cultivated at the address.
It follows a targeted operation run by police forces across the South West focused on disrupting cannabis factories linked to organised crime groups. Avon and Somerset Police seized an estimated £3.25 million of cannabis during the operation, arrested 20 people in connection to the illegal drug activity, and seized a number of weapons.
Anyone with any information or concerns about a potential cannabis factory or drug dealing can contact Avon and Somerset Police by calling 101 or making a report online. In the case of an emergency or crime that is currently taking place, always call 999.
Alternatively, people can report any information anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Some key signs to spot a property being used as a cannabis factory are:
- 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.