Merseyside Police has arrested 12 people and nearly 6,000 cannabis plants seized following an incident in Bootle which began on Saturday, 13 November.
Officers attended a building on Goldsmith Street at around 8.35am following enquiries. Seven males were found inside and detained. A total of 5,860 cannabis plants and cuttings have now been seized, across 23 rooms, cash, and a significant volume of equipment.
A further five men were detained on the M6 and brought back to Merseyside to be questioned.
12 men between the ages of 18 and 54 remain under investigation and extensive CCTV, forensic and other enquiries continue.
Matt Brown, who leads the specialist Cannabis Dismantling Team (CDT) said, “We’ve been on the scene since Saturday, which gives an idea of the scale of this industrial-scale cannabis operation, one of the biggest we have ever investigated in Merseyside.
“An investigation continues, and we’re keen to hear from anyone who might have seen suspicious activity or vehicles in the area in recent weeks, or captured anything on CCTV, dashcam or other means.
“This volume of cannabis caused huge fire and flood risks, and we know that the onward supply of cannabis and all illegal drugs leads to violent crime across Merseyside and beyond. Our work is vital in removing such threats from our communities.
“Criminals who grow cannabis in the heart of our communities care only about making money. They are not bothered about the risks of fire they bring to neighbouring properties, or the violence associated with drug dealing that might be brought to the area they set their farms up in. Nor do they give any thought to the exploitation of those vulnerable people who are often forced to mind these premises.
“Key to any police success is information from those who live and work nearby to these potential death traps. If you have any information on suspected drugs being grown or supplied where you are, let us know and we will keep taking this positive action. It useful to be aware of some of the signs of cannabis growth, and we’ll do the rest.”
Some of the signs that cannabis is being grown are:
• Strange smells and sounds
• Frequent and varied visitors to a property, often at unusual times
• Gardening equipment being taken into a property, such as plant pots, fertiliser, fans and industrial lighting
• Windows are sealed and covered or the curtains are permanently closed
• Heat from an adjoining property
• Birds gathering on a roof in cold weather
• Individually these activities may seem commonplace, however, together may indicate something more suspicious
Anyone with information on suspected drug production or criminal activity in their community can contact @MerPolCC, call 101 or come forward anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.