Large drug factories are 'rare' in area say police after home was used to harvest cannabis plants
THE streets of North East Lincolnshire are not awash with drugs, say top officers – despite des-res being used as drugs dens for organised crime barons.
The reassurance came after the two men who cultivated a £113,000 cannabis factory at Barnoldby-le-Beck were jailed.
As reported, the home with a pricetag of £850,000 was used to harvest 161 cannabis plants by two illegal immigrants from Vietnam.
Its discovery on January 13 came almost a year after the biggest cannabis seizure in North East Lincolnshire, when 15 upstairs rooms of Healing Manor were filled with cannabis plants.
The drugs seized in that raid had a street value of about £2 million, and the Vietnamese men arrested in that raid were later jailed and deported.
One of the most senior officers in North East Lincolnshire reassured residents such cannabis factories are rare and the owners who rent out plush properties are usually unaware of who their tenants are.
They are often part of a network operated by criminal masterminds in other parts of the UK.
Detective Superintendent Judi Heaton said drugs on our streets are not at epidemic levels.
She said: "Tackling this type of crime is a challenge for both police and our partners as we work to identify suspects who may be involved in the supply chain, ranging from those dealing small quantities of narcotics from their home to high-level organised criminals who may have a number of people working for them to establish suitable locations to cultivate the drugs before then trying to sell the items locally.
"On the whole, our main concern centres around lower-level drug dealing and we are pleased to say that local communities play a big part in this work by often being our eyes and ears and reporting concerns they may have about suspicious activity in their respective areas.
"But we have also carried out warrants at more notable properties which has resulted in the closure of at least two large-scale operations, which are possibly linked to organised crime. The most recent example being at Barnoldby-le-Beck, which caught the owner of the property by surprise when they found out what the property had been used for while rented to another person via an agency.
"Thankfully, though, cannabis factories of this size remain rare in our area.
"Our aim as a partnership is to address the supply of illegal substances throughout North East Lincolnshire and where possible take positive action to make seizures and arrest those responsible for supplying, no matter where they sit in the supply chain.
"To that end I would ask the public to keep reporting their concerns relating to local activity, as that can help us establish if someone is actively growing or selling illegal substances in the area. This could lead to positive action being taken against those involved and the removal of more illegal drugs from the streets."
Anyone with information about suspicious activity in their neighbourhood can call Humberside Police on 101.