Operation tackling cannabis farms results in 13 arrests
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Throughout the past few months, Cleveland Police has discovered and dismantled 34 cannabis farms across Teesside, resulting in 13 arrests and more than 4,700 cannabis plants being recovered.
The activity was part of a national operation which was aimed at unearthing and disrupting serious and organised crime and those exploiting illegal revenue streams.
In the North East region the activity saw a total of 87 warrants executed, the seizure of over 16,000 cannabis plants and more than 70 arrests.
Nationally, there were 967 arrests, more than 182,000 cannabis plants seized and almost £636,000 of suspected criminal cash recovered.
Assistant Chief Constable Richard Baker of Cleveland Police, said:
“We know how much misery cannabis farms cause in our communities. Not only do they cause misery, but also present a real threat of harm to many people across Teesside.
“Organised crime groups running these illegal operations are often involved in criminal exploitation, immigration crime and money laundering.
“Cleveland Police is committed to tackling the issue of cannabis farms across the county. This intensification period of action has been a great success, and we will continue to find these illegal enterprises and arrest those responsible”.
Detective Chief Superintendent Phil Shutt, Head of NEROCU, has praised the co-ordinated activity and reminds the public why work like this will continue.
He said: “We know people often consider cannabis-related crime to be ‘low level’, however it is evident that there are very often links between organised crime and those involved in cannabis cultivation.
“These types of illegal operations help fuel violence in communities and fund wider serious crime such as human trafficking, child exploitation, firearm importation and distribution and modern-day slavery.”
DCS Shutt added: “This national operation has been a huge success. Not only has it disrupted and dismantled a significant amount of organised criminal activity, but the intelligence gathered will also help inform future investigations across the country.
“Activity like this is always ongoing, and police forces and partners in our region remain dedicated to tackling all forms of serious and organised crime in order to safeguard the vulnerable, protect victims and communities and bring justice to those exploiting others and committing crime.”