'We will tackle the drug gangs': Police vow as three cannabis farms found a day

Cannabis gangs causing misery across the West Midlands will be pursued and brought to justice, police chiefs pledged today.

A cannabis factory discovered in West Bromwich
A cannabis factory discovered in West Bromwich

West Midlands Police revealed it is currently dealing with three cannabis farms a day.

The force has vowed to go after the cannabis gangs causing misery across the region.

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Police say they are as committed as ever to fighting the illegal trade, which they say is linked to organised criminal gangs, modern slavery and other serious crimes.

Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson has warned the criminals that his force considers it an important issue.

Cannabis operations have become more sophisticated

It comes as West Midlands Police’s head of cannabis disposal team Mike Hall vowed to stop anyone who is thinking about growing the drug, telling any aspiring criminals: “Put the kettle on, we’re coming round to your house.”

And he said his team was having an impact, helped by tip-offs from members of the public.

Mr Hall said: “People do not want cannabis farms in their street so we get a lot of community intelligence from people who want us to take action and I think that is making it a hostile environment for the criminals to operate in.”

Latest figures by the Home Office show tens of thousands more cannabis plants were seized in the West Midlands in 2017/18 compared to the previous year.

A total of 67,776 were seized across the region, which includes Staffordshire and West Mercia, in the last financial year.

That figure represents an increase of almost 19,000 from the previous year. The majority of this rise came in Staffordshire, where drug busts increased by nearly 10,000.

It is organised crime gangs that run the majority of cannabis farms across the region, according to West Midlands Police, with the force seeing a dip or spike in the number of raids it carries out depending on whether the gangs are active or reorganising.

Mr Jamieson said: “High-end cannabis farms are clearly linked to serious and organised crime. There are clear links to modern slavery and other exploitative, high harm crimes too and so, where harm is caused, we will go after the gangs causing misery.”

Despite West Midlands Police having 2,000 fewer officers than it did eight years ago, the force says it has not changed its approach to catching those caught growing the drug illegally.

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