Police raid 10 addresses and seize 1,410 cannabis plants in huge drugs swoop
More than 1,400 cannabis plants have been seized by police after officers carried out raid after raid in a devastating drugs swoop.
Pictures released by Sussex Police show hundreds of the green-leafed plants seized by authorities in the course of their investigation.
The large-scale drugs supply operation had been running for several months, police believe.
The staggering drugs haul – some 1,410 plants – is thought to be worth about £1.2 million.
Officers in the Crawley area arrested six men and a woman as they called on various addresses over the past two weeks.
Two other men, from London, have also been interviewed on suspicion of human trafficking offences after four potential modern slavery victims were found.
The four potential victims have been referred to specialist support services.
Police have launched Operation Forfar in an attempt to trace more people in connection with the criminal enterprise and are appealing to the public for information.
Detective Inspector Cheryl Lewendon said: “We have completely disrupted a fully planned commercial project which appears to have been operating for several months, and was aimed at bringing illegal drugs on to the streets of Crawley and the surrounding area on a large scale.
“This is a large scale investigation in which we have had support from police and staff of our Crawley Prevention Enforcement Team, and also from colleagues across West Sussex as well as the force’s new Tactical Enforcement Unit (TEU).
“However our inquiries are continuing to trace other people we suspect of being involved in the organisation and management of these sites. Information from local people has already been key in exposing this project, and anyone with further information can contact us at any time either online or by calling 101, quoting Operation Forfar.”
On February 2, police were called to a report of intruders at an address in Tennyson Close, Crawley.
Officers found some 800 cannabis plants in various stages of cultivation at the address, together with equipment.
Two men, aged 38 and 35, were arrested on suspicion of production of cannabis and after being interviewed were released under investigation.
Following this, drugs warrants were executed at nine other addresses.
At every one, equipment for cannabis production was also found, and at eight of the addresses cannabis in various stages of cultivation was also found, police said.
The seven people arrested were released under investigation and were also referred to Immigration Enforcement for further enquiries about their status in the UK.