HomeCannabisUK police seize £130 million worth of cannabis in national operation

UK police seize £130 million worth of cannabis in national operation

In a landmark crackdown on organised crime in the UK, police forces have seized approximately £130m worth of cannabis plants and made nearly 1,000 arrests.

The operation, known as “Operation Mille” is described as the most significant and extensive of its kind in the history of UK law enforcement.

Throughout June, more than 180,000 plants were confiscated in raids across England and Wales, dealing a significant blow to organised crime gangs (OCGs) involved in other offences such as money laundering, Class A drug smuggling, and violent crimes.

In addition to the plants, the operation also resulted in the seizure of 20 firearms, £636,000 in cash, and 20kg of cocaine, valued at around £1m on the street.

The month-long operation, led by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and coordinated by around 11,000 officers from all 43 police forces in England and Wales, as well as the National Crime Agency and Immigration Enforcement, aimed to disrupt OCGs by eliminating a crucial revenue source, apprehending criminals involved, and collecting intelligence on the operations of these networks.

Over 1,000 warrants were executed during the operation.

Although cannabis is considered a Class B drug in the UK, not Class A like heroin or cocaine, large-scale cannabis cultivation is viewed as a major illicit income source for criminal gangs.

Out of the individuals arrested during the operation, more than 450 have since been charged.

Steve Jupp, the NPCC’s lead for Serious and Organised Crime, stated, “We know that organised networks involved in cannabis production are also directly linked to an array of other serious criminality such as Class A drug importation, modern slavery, and wider violence and exploitation.Not only has this operation significantly disrupted criminal activity, but the intelligence gathered will assist future police operations across the country.”

In London alone, the operation dismantled 65 “cannabis factories” seizing 7,250 plants, 60 kilos of cannabis resin, crack cocaine, and five firearms.

Scotland Yard reported that 48 individuals were arrested in the British capital, 27 of whom have since been charged.

Cannabis plantations pose considerable threats to their neighbourhoods as well, according to the NPCC, due to the risk of fires or illegal connections to the electricity network.

Police issued a warning about potential signs of buildings being used as cannabis ‘factories,’ including frequent visits at all hours, blacked-out windows with condensation, intense light even at night, fan noise, frequent deliveries, and abnormal quantities of pots, fertilisers, and compost.


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