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Cannabis plants worth £1million seized in Watford

25 May 2019
  • The seized plants and bagged cannabis has an estimated street value of more than £1million

  • Two men found at the site are being treated as victims of modern slavery

  • If you have any information around who may be responsible for setting up the factory, please contact police

Thousands of cannabis plants with an estimated street value of more than £1million were seized by officers in Watford on Thursday. (May 23).

The Watford Operational Support Group (OSG), supported by PCSOs from the Watford Safer Neighbourhood Team, uncovered the cannabis factory on the Shakespeare Road industrial estate after acting on information received from members of the local community.

More than 1,400 plants were being cultivated in two warehouses which had been converted for the industrial production of the drug. Ten kilograms of bagged cannabis was also found and seized.

Two men were found at the site and, with assistance from a local charity, are being cared for and treated as victims of modern slavery.

Enquiries are continuing to trace those responsible for setting up the factory and cultivating the plants.

Sergeant Dave Perkins, who led the operation, said: “We are very pleased that we have prevented such a large amount of drugs from reaching the streets. The offenders had also illegally bypassed the electricity supply when setting up the factory, creating a potential fire hazard and putting innocent lives in danger.

“Drug dealing and the associated criminality can directly affect the lives of those in the vicinity and I want to reassure residents that we will always act on intelligence that suggests drugs are being cultivated.

“This seizure is a direct result of intelligence we received from the local community who reported their suspicions to us. The information we receive from members of the public is absolutely vital in helping us to tackle drug crime in Hertfordshire.

“Any information you share with us, however seemingly insignificant, could be the missing piece we need to make an arrest.”

The following signs suggest cannabis may be being grown in your community:

  • A strong and sickly sweet smell
  • Lighting and ventilation equipment being taken into the house
  • Windows always covered or blocked off
  • People coming and going at all hours or neighbours you never see
  • Strong and constant lighting at all hours
  • High levels of condensation
  • Constant buzz of ventilation equipment
  • Lots of power cables around the property

You can report information online at www.herts.police.uk/Report or speak to an operator in our Force Communications Room via web chat.

This can be launched here: herts.police.uk/contact

You can also call the non-emergency number 101, and ask for Herts Police.

Alternatively, you can stay 100% anonymous by contacting the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their untraceable online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

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