More than 4000 Cannabis plants seized county-wide in national crackdown
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Officers across Derbyshire have carried out more than 20 warrants and arrested 19 people as part of a national initiative to target the illegal production and sale of cannabis.
Throughout June we worked alongside all 43 police forces across England and Wales as part of a campaign to target cannabis grows and arrest those behind them.
Known as Operation Mille, in Derbyshire we carried out 25 searches of buildings and properties up and down the county including in Derby, Chesterfield, Ripley, Shirebrook, Heanor, Bolsover, Swadlincote and others.
In total 4773 cannabis plants were recovered, with the largest grow in a commercial unit on Nottingham Road at Ilkeston where 655 plants were found.
Nineteen people were arrested in connection with the searches, and four people were charged.
Arben Duka (46) of Lime Close in Pinxton was one of those charged. He appeared at Nottingham Crown Court on Thursday 8 June for one count of production of cannabis at a property on Wilson Street in Pinxton.
Duka was jailed for 12 months, and the plants have been destroyed.
As part of the operation, we also referred two men through the National Referral Mechanism which provides safeguarding and support for victims of modern slavery through a multi-agency approach.
Detective Chief Inspector Gareth Eaton said: “While Operation Mille has ended, our officers are continuing their work to target illegal cannabis grows, and to disrupt and take action against those behind them.
“The illegal production of cannabis is sometimes seen as low level but it’s important to remember that is often run by serious organised crime groups who exploit vulnerable people. They also usually involve a vast amount of electrical equipment to provide lighting and heating, which can cause a real safety risk to others in the neighbourhood.
“It’s clear that those behind the grows have little thought for the safety and welfare of others, and by going after those involved in cannabis production, we are able to disrupt their activities and take positive action to help prevent the potential for associated crimes such as exploitation, violence and anti-social behaviour.”
The size of criminal cannabis cultivations means that damage is often caused to the properties themselves; the buildings can become dangerous as a result of fire risks, abstraction of electricity, fumes and water damage.
There are some key signs a property could be being used to grow cannabis, including:
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.
DCI Eaton added: “We are grateful for the support of our communities, as our residents are often our eyes and ears and the information we receive is vital in helping us to target serious and organised crime.
“While we can’t act on every piece of information we receive, it does help us to build a picture of suspicious activity which is taking place and allows to focus our resources.
“I would encourage anyone with information about the production or dealing of drugs to report it to us, or anonymously through Crimestoppers.”
If you have any information which could help us target illegal drug activity, you can report it to us on any of the non-emergency methods below: