POLICE have shut down what is thought to be one of the largest cannabis factories ever found in East Lancashire.
Officers raided a disused mill at the junction of Brook Street and Chapelhouse Road, Nelson, on Monday morning and discovered around 1,400 cannabis plants with an estimated street value of up to £1,000,000.
Electrical equipment including lighting and heating was seized as officers dismantled the factory.
The action came after members of the public highlighted concerns to local police.
An address in Edith Street, Nelson, which was believed to be linked to the cannabis, was also raided.
Inquiries are continuing and crime scene investigators have been gathering forensic evidence from the scene. Insp. Paul Leigh, from Nelson police, said: “This was a sophisticated and professional set-up and one of the largest we have ever seen in the division.
“These factories are set up by organised criminals and not only perpetrate the large scale supply of illicit drugs but also commit significant environmental damage. United Utilities have estimated the electricity abstracted on a set up of this scale would be in the region of £30,000. The building is a significant fire risk and could have put people’s lives at risk.
“An investigation is now under way to identify the people responsible and I urge anyone with information to come forward.”
Community Beat Manager for the Cloverhill and Walverden ward of Nelson PC Hazel Richardson added: “We are having some real successes in disrupting the supply of cannabis in Nelson, but we need the public’s help to sustain our activity.
“I urge anyone who has suspicions about cannabis plants being grown in their community to contact the police so we can take action.”
Anyone with information can contact the police on 0845 1 25 35 45 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.