In an extensive nationwide operation led by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), officers from the Met Police, supported by the City of London and the Ministry of Defence Police, successfully conducted over 1,000 warrants at suspected cannabis factories across England and Wales.
This operation aimed to dismantle organised crime groups involved in drug trafficking, money laundering, and immigration crimes, and disrupt their illicit revenue streams.
The operation follows two significant incidents in Harrow, where a fire broke out at a suspected cannabis factory in Kenton in May this year, and another factory was discovered in Wealdstone in October 2022. These incidents raised concerns about the presence of large-scale cannabis cultivations in the area.
During the operation, the police seized an astonishing 7,250 cannabis plants in London alone, with a street value of up to £130 million. The seized plants were associated with high levels of violence and were a source of misery for local communities affected by criminal enterprises.
In addition to the cannabis plants, the police also confiscated 60kg of prepared cannabis resin, 200 rocks of crack cocaine, and five firearms. The total haul across the country included substantial amounts of drugs, cash, and weapons, providing a significant blow to the criminal networks involved in these illegal activities.
Overall, more than 1,000 arrests were made during the operation, with 48 individuals being apprehended in connection with the cannabis factories in London. Out of the arrested individuals, 27 have been charged, underscoring the successful outcome of the operation.
Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Trevers, who led Operation Mille for the Metropolitan Police, said: “This operation has disrupted the production and supply of drugs into our communities. Cannabis factories are strongly associated with high levels of violence and are a cause of misery across local communities where these criminal enterprises are situated. Although this was an unprecedented month of action, this work takes place in London all year round.
“I can assure Londoners that every day there are teams who are continuing to disrupt organised criminal groups operating in our city. “If you suspect a property is being used for the cultivation of cannabis this information can be reported to us online or by calling 101. Alternatively, this information can also be reported anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555111.”