More than £7million of cannabis plants seized across Leicestershire in June

A grow found by policeA grow found by police
A grow found by police
Ten people were also referred to an organisation helping victims of modern slavery

An operation to stamp out the illegal production of cannabis across Leicestershire saw plants with a street value of more than £7million seized.

Throughout June nearly 50 searches took place across the county which saw more than 9,200 plants – around half a tonne – taken by offices.

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The campaign also saw 40 people arrested on suspicion of being in connection with the cultivation of Class B drug cannabis and 29 people subsequently charged.

One of the grows found by policeOne of the grows found by police
One of the grows found by police

Some £21,000 in cash and hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of growing equipment was also taken by local officers.

Ten people were referred to a national organisation helping victims of slavery, with police saying enforced labour and exploitation is often part of large-scale cannabis grow operations.

Leicestershire Police was one of many forces across the UK which took part in Operation Mile – a national campaign to locate cannabis grows and arrest those behind them.

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Det Chf Insp Rob Arthur said: “The production of cannabis – which is a category B and illegal drug – is an issue across the country. Those behind the grows often have little regard for the safety and welfare of others.

“It’s important to remember that the illegal production of cannabis – which often involves vast amounts of electrical equipment like lighting and heating – poses a serious risk to the public. Criminals don’t want to be detected and so more often than not, this equipment is connected in a way that poses a serious fire hazard.

“There is also another human side to this offending, with the creation and maintenance of large scale grows often linked with exploitation and forced labour.

“I’m absolutely delighted our month of enforcement resulted in more than 9,200 plants being recovered by officers.

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“But, as well as stopping the plants from making it to our streets, we’ve also identified those behind the grows and charged 29 people, as well as referring ten people into the national referral mechanism which can support people who are victims of slavery.”

Local officers will be continuing their work by raising awareness about the dangers cultivation of cannabis can pose.

PC John Merola, from the West Leicester Neighbourhood Policing Area, added: “We want to ensure local authorities and landlords know how to identify fraudulent identification documents, which are often used by tenants so they can use a property solely for growing cannabis.

“Our beat also has a large number of terraced properties. Since 2021, we’ve been called to six fires by Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service because they’ve identified the cause as being from equipment inside that was used to grow cannabis.

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“Over the coming weeks, we’ll be holding a number of patch walks with partner agencies in order to raise awareness of the issue and advise how we can work together to continue preventing criminals from operating in our area.”

Visit or call 101 to make a report of a grow, or visit to find out more about modern slavery and make a report.