Northumbria Police raided a unit on the Pattinson North Industrial Estate in Washington on Monday, January 17, following a tip about suspected drug supply linked to the premises.
Inside, officers found a ‘significant’ cannabis operation, with more than 100 plants at various stages of growth – along with building materials that suggested the intention was to extend the farm to the rest of the building.
Inspector Steve Passey, who led the strike, said the sophisticated operation had the potential to become a multi-million pound drugs farm: “While there was a substantial number of cannabis plants growing inside the building, there is little doubt that this had the potential to be run on an industrial scale,” he said.
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“We suspect that was the intention over the medium to long term, so are absolutely delighted to have been able to intervene early and dismantle this illicit farm.
“This warrant was executed after we received information from members of the community who suspected something was not quite right and got in touch. Their information has been crucial in us discovering this operation.
The find would have a serious impact on organised crime: “Quite often, these types of farms are run by organised criminal groups who use the proceeds to fund other types of serious and violent criminality. This discovery has dented the pockets of criminals in our region,” said Insp Passey.
“We will continue to use every single tactic at our disposal to pursue perpetrators and tackle serious and organised crime in the North East – and this is another example of the important role that the public can play in supporting us.
“If you see anything suspicious in your community, please let us know. Your information could result in us bringing effective justice against criminals who are operating in your area.”
Anyone with concerns about suspected criminality in their community is encouraged to contact police via the ‘Tell Us Something’ page of the Northumbria force website or by calling 101. In an emergency, always ring 999.