Two men have been charged after what is thought to be the largest cannabis crop ever uncovered in Hertfordshire was seized in Hemel Hempstead earlier this week.
Ledio Ndreo, 30, and Haziz Dosku, 28 – both of no fixed address – have been charged with being concerned in the production of a controlled class B drug.
They appeared before Hatfield Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 17 March, where they were remanded back into custody.
The charges come after officers from the constabulary’s Operational Support Group raided a former snooker club in Grovehill – supported by colleagues from the Operation Scorpion and Safer Neighbourhood Teams – just after 7am on Wednesday 16 March.
They recovered more than 2,000 plants from the building in Henry Wells Square, with an estimated value of at least £1.3million pounds. The mains electricity supply for the building had also been tampered with as part of the cultivation, so engineers UK Power Networks attended to make the area safe.
Sergeant Dave Perkins, from the Operational Support Group, said: “I know some may think the production and selling of cannabis isn’t an issue we should be concerned with, but I say to them: look at the bigger picture.
“The devastating impact of the drugs industry cannot be underestimated, as thousands of vulnerable drug users are exploited every day, unable to escape and improve their lives. Those who are addicted to drugs often commit crime to feed their habit, meaning innocent people fall victim to burglaries and robberies.
“Organised crime groups take advantage of people, including children, to run drugs for them as part of county lines networks from major cities across the UK. This issue remains a key focus for us and no less than 25 people were recently arrested – with six of those being charged and remanded – in Hertfordshire during the National County Lines Intensification Week.
“I hope that residents feel reassured to know that we have shut down this cannabis factory, as not only have we put a stop to this criminal activity but the building itself is now no longer a fire and safety hazard.
“Finally, I would like to remind the public that if they have any suspicions about drug dealing in their community, please report it to us straight away. Every piece of information we receive helps us to build up a picture and take appropriate action.”
Source: Herts Police